Greetings with the hope that all are “Staying Safe”. I have decided to re-open “myboardingschoolblog.net”, the website associated with the book: “The Grenada Boys Secondary School Hostel – Reminiscing on a Boarding School Life in Grenada”. My invitation for active participation by Alumni remains open. My first new post continues on a promise for an appreciation of the GBSS School Song.
W. J. PHILLIPS.
The GBSS School Song – Verse 2
The GBSS School Song and the lessons that have stood us well at school continue to do so in our adult life. I tingle at the thought that GBSS Boys would sing the School Song wherever they assemble. The picture and video below are examples in Toronto about three years ago.
These encounters and singing of the School Song sustain us with ‘feel-good’ energy until the next time we meet, and reawaken our friendships and ‘GBSS-ness’. I am now confident that when when my final departure comes, that Song will be sung in memoriam. My intention here to have you the reader think on matters arising from my reflections on the School Song and to share your ideas.
Verse 1 revisited
A post exists on Verse 1 of the School Song which dwells on keeping alight the torches left by others as “beacons marking the way”. I think that generally the Song has great potential in stimulating student greater pride and desire to excel, if its ideals are brought together with the honoring of the performances and legacies of Alumni.
If I accept the assumption that the the authors of the song perceived it as an active teacher, I would have to admit that during my seven-years at GBSS and Hostel,been that there was (and perhaps there still is) a missing link. I am very conscious that over the years we all sang the song melodiously and vigorously. But I do not recall a single occasion on which we discussed the song, either in our class discussions, or even in a Saturday Night Hostel Literary League meeting. The more i think of this the more I wonder why. I believe that singing operates at another level than discussion which allows for thinking , absorption, and regurgitation. My belief is strengthened by the fact that beyond the words there are suggestions and ideals that to a thinking mind become points to ponder.
The big question is therefore: can (and should) the mix of students, the ideals of the School Song, and the legacies of alumni be brought together into a dynamic of “talking points” to stimulate effort and thinking, and so be beneficial to students and school? Another issue would be determining how to honor current students’ performances that promote the ideals of the school Song. It would seem that in its respect for tradition, the Song excludes the recognition of of peer performances. At the GBSS level that is easier to do that one may think.
On to Verse 2
The also-ran and the champion,
Each one can but do his best;
The winner’s display depends on
The efforts of all the rest.
To be in the van is not all,
For each has to play his role;
The team wins the match at football
Though one man must kick the goal.
Chorus: The prize to the one who earns it
Let this be our golden rule
Endeavor enhances merit
The slacker is folly’s tool.
The genius of Dr. Commissiong’s lyrics lies behind the words, which while recognized as ‘givens’, are not fully appreciated as working principles. Here are some of the latter: in any competition all that is expected of participants is that they do their best. The “crown”we theoretically place on the head of a winner states that he won. What it does not state is how, and to what extent his victory was pushed upon him by the pressure exerted by his competitors. Most onlookers and even winners do not see in the ‘crowning’ a responsibility to respect competitors for their efforts. In this regard, it may be instructive to observe the attitudes and actions of professional runners towards their fellow competitors.
The Chorus: The general principle is clear and impressive in meaning – to win you must be focused,, competing, and performing at your best. “The prize to the one who earns it” tickles the mind with the parable on sowing and reaping, and in interpretation: what (and how) you sow is what you will reap. So don’t be a slacker, because merit is gained by effort. I see something else.
To show this I must bring two School Mottoes together: the St. Joseph Convent’s motto: “Laborare est orare” (“To work is to pray”); and the GBSS Motto: “Non palma sine labore” (“No reward without labor”). There is similarity in both, not too obvious. Generally, our prayers are enhanced with hope and expectations. So in our search for merit, our expressed effort is supported by hope and expectations. A part of ritual of professional runners is to individually marshal themselves in prayerful actions before the race starts. This extends the mind into thinking that maybe, nothing we do can excel without prayer, whether we are conscious of it or not. The slacker is indeed, “folly’s tool”.
I believe that the words of the Song hide jewels meant to make us think:. “The team wins the match at football; though one man must score the goal”. Through school metaphors the Song extends to application to Life and Living. Despite our tags, we are all playing roles in the game of Life with all its rules and limitations; the guiding factor is that we all must try to do our best, and to follow the Golden Rule, because we are all really One.
The line assigns the Oneness to the team, perhaps more so to a ‘meaningful intent’. Well I remember in school this description of meaningful intent and with it an image. Telling of an exciting football match, the story-teller says: “The GBSS team moved as One” towards the opposing goal. Another jewel!
On behalf of thousands of GBSS boys and girls I thank Dr. L. M. Commissiong for the lyrics, and Mr. D. L. Morgan for the music of the GBSS School Song. It will live on and continue its teachings until the last GBSS Boy goes from this life; and who knows, he may find himself welcomed by a familiar Song.
Perhaps there should be a designated day which honors these two gentlemen as ’ true-true’ GBSS beacons; they went much further than “marking the way” ; they built the highway on which all GBSS Boys have traveled. I like the idea of a School Song Day dedicated to honoring those two.
W. J. PHILLIPS