St Catherine's Magazine - Author Unknown
What are the things that bring honour to a School, that build up its reputation? There is the impress of the Head, the influence of her or his character and government. There is the work of the Staff, their teaching and class management, their interest in and sympathy with their pupils. There is the setting of the school’s life, the beauty and convenience of its buildings and grounds. There are the girls and boys themselves, who form the community while they are there, who leave a tradition when they go out into the wider world.
“In all probability, we have, most of us, been told that our school days are the happiest part of our lives. That is not cheerful doctrine, since they are likely to end when we are about eighteen, and no one cares to contemplate half a century or so of regrets. As a general rule, it is the older generation that speaks, and the younger that hears-and does not believe. It is possible that the older generation does not always believe, either, in spite of the enchantment lent by distance, and would not really welcome a chance to go back. There is a well-known novel, which deals rather amusingly with such a situation.
All the same, our school days ought to be a very happy time, and they are among the things that never do return to us. We ought certainly to make the most of them while we have them; to learn and enjoy and develop to our utmost capacity. Then, when the last year has come and gone, we should be ready for the next thing that life has to offer us.
We talk of “school days” because that part of our lives is generally spent in a school. Once, this was not at all so likely to happen, in the case of girls. For some children, home education may be the best; and a family governess is sometimes a wonderful friend and teacher. But a girl who never goes to school misses a great deal, and the parents of today are usually ready to realise this. The pity is that some girls who have such an advantage do not value it, and do not see what opportunities they are wasting till the time for using them has gone forever.
Most of us like to have a share in something of which we can be proud. With some of us, the very fact that it is ours – our country, our side, our School-is enough to call forth our enthusiastic loyalty. And that girl is much to be pitied who is in a school, and yet is not proud to be a part of it. The best and greatest of schools will not do much for a girl who does not give it loyalty, who does not care about its honour, or feel herself responsible for it.
What are the things that bring honour to a School, that build up its reputation? There is the impress of the Head, the influence of her or his character and government. There is the work of the Staff, their teaching and class management, their interest in and sympathy for their pupils. There is the setting of the school’s life, the beauty and convenience of its buildings and grounds. There are the girls and boys themselves, who form the community while they are there, who leave a tradition when they go out into the wider world. For the school is theirs, and they make it; they cannot escape their responsibility, though they may forget it.
How can a girl, an ordinary girl, help to make her school honoured and honourable? In the first place, she must be “keen.” She may not be brilliant at anything, but she can do her utmost for her form and for her House. She may never play for the school, but she can go to matches and clap those who do. She can remember that, when she goes out, wearing the school’s uniform, she carries with her the school’s reputation. By her it will be judged, whether justly or unjustly. Even a little thing like a pair of gloves may have a share in influencing that judgment. For her own sake, and for her school’s, she can keep a high standard of honour. She can be truthful in word and deed, and help other girls to be the same. She can be considerate of other girls, too, and do what is in her power for them, if only because they belong to the same school. She can respect the laws under which she lives, and remember that rules, even when they are irksome, are made for the good of the school. She can take a pride in the achievements of her more brilliant or more fortunate schoolfellows and feel that their success is also hers. Finally. she can make up her mind to get as much as possible out of her school days-knowledge, friendship, fun, new ideas, wider interests. In getting them, she will also give, and the school will be richer because she has passed through it. Then, when she leaves, she will not forget; and an enthusiastic Old Girl is a possession to be valued by any school.”