I am now on to my long-promised take on the GBSS School Song. What I try to do here is to present what I perceive the words are telling us, at school and after-school. This is not exhaustive.Your comments are welcome.

At study or recreation

In classroom or playing field

Let those of each generation

Respect to tradition yield

The feats of fathers and brothers

Are beacons marking the way

The torch handed down by others

We must keep alight today.


At study or recreation

In classroom or playing field……..

This addresses us where we are …. as students. Our main activities are work and recreation. Recreation may include but is not limited to relaxation. Other more active areas are sports, cadets, scouting and other such extra-mural activities.

In classroom or playing field………

Wherever we are (at school or elsewhere) this implies a need for continuity. As students of academic disciplines we are in a classroom; as students of life, we are in another classroom; but wherever we are, each generation is asked to hold respect for tradition.


Let those of each generation

Respect to tradition yield……..

Recognition, honoring; maintaining; surpassing; recognize that traditions and tradition represent a point of reference to the current status quo.

Tradition – customs; the ethos of those gone before us, as expressed, among other things in sportsmanship; hard work; seriousness, character, deportment, etc..

Perhaps the best thing in my day that explained this was “conduct becoming a boy of the GBSS” – this was never explained, but it did provide us with a feeling of  something higher than normal; something good! A philosopher once said that when we feel sorry for (or proud of) others we are actually feeling sorry for or proud of ourselves. In like manner, when we look at tradition, we are actually seeing ourselves. So the song is actually asking us to respect ourselves. Note that the generation after you is expected to respect you!

Yield – pay attention; do not throw it out as old-fashioned because it represent the path that led to you as the School and you are today you. You can still give respect even though you may feel that yours is ‘better’ or ‘more modern’.


The feats of fathers and brothers (sisters too);

Are beacons…..  marking the way ……..

Past accomplishments not only mark the way to today, but also provide bases for today’s goals (doing better). Again, the reference is mainly to things students do at sport or at study, or at just being a better person.

The song would literally have us think of ‘fathers and brothers’ only in terms of school. But if we do this while at school, it is easy to extend the theme to other persons outside of school, even to your competitors, and co-workers. And to pay respect to school history, to our ‘sisters’ also.


The torch handed down by others

We must keep alight today …….

Keep achieving, maintaining and surpassing, the accomplishments of the past.


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