The St. Gregory’s Academy Crest is an image well-known and well-beloved by alumni and friends of the academy. Since the school’s institution in 1993, the crest has served as St. Gregory’s defining symbol and has been worn over the hearts of the Highlanders with pride on and off the rugby pitch.
Now, as the spirit and traditions of St. Gregory’s Academy advances to a new stage of existence, a new crest has been created to signify this development. The original crest was designed by Mr. Alan Hicks, the founding Headmaster of the academy. He conceived it as an emblem depicting the chief principles of education and the Catholic life. Now that St. Gregory’s Academy has had 19 good years, and is blessed to have the opportunity to evolve into a new, independent institution hearkening from a particular history and a particular character, so too arises an opportunity to represent that history and character in a new shield. The story of the Gregory the Great shield’s genesis is here presented.
Mr. Hicks primarily wanted St. Gregory’s Academy to have for its motto, Bonum, Verum, Pulchrum (the Good, the True, the Beautiful). This motto expresses that the ultimate end of education (and human life) is to love the good, to know the truth, and to have joy in the beautiful. Mr. Hicks intended that this motto accompany a shield depicting images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to indicate their love for us; and an image of the Holy Spirit, to indicate that ultimate wisdom cannot be gained by our efforts alone. Mr. Hicks approached a graphic artist with these concepts and commissioned some images. After a period of mixing and matching and revision, Mr. Hicks was satisfied and the St. Gregory’s Academy crest was born: a shield with a bend gules, having the crowned Hearts of Jesus and Mary in the upper field and the Holy Spirit in the form of a haloed dove in the shield sinister, and a motto-banner emblazoned with Bonum, Verum, Pulchrum.
The crest of the new school, Gregory the Great Academy, has been designed to incorporate the imagery and symbolism of the old crest, and add to them images and symbols that reflect the character that the school spirit has organically formed over the years. This new crest bears four fields divided per saltire (the St. Andrew’s Cross). This mode of division symbolizes the Scottish traditions of the school and the Highlanders. In chief are depicted the crowned Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and in base, the sword superimposed by an open book. In fess is charged the old image of the Holy Spirit and a new image of a harp on a field gules. The motto, set in a banner below, remains the same as in the old crest.
The Sacred Hearts and the Holy Spirit represent the same principles of Divine love and inspiration, as designed by Mr. Hicks. The sword and harp now act together as icons of Thomas Moore’s poem, “The Minstrel Boy,” which has served as the school song since the early years.
“One sword at least thy rights shall guard, One faithful harp shall praise thee!”
The Harp also invokes St. Gregory the Great’s patronage of music, the poetic education the school upholds through the epics of the ancient bards, and finally, the strong musical tradition and formation of the academy. The sword, turned to create a cross-hilt, represents the chivalric traditions of knighthood and manly courtesy, while being a weapon by which the knight upholds justice. In relation to the open book, it stands as well for the defense of the Faith. The open book, considered alone, is a symbol of both academia and the Divine Liturgy of the Church.