Harbor cherishes childhood, cultivates wonder and inspires confident learners and leaders.
A Portrait of Our Graduates
- Harbor graduates are fearless learners.
- They possess the moral and ethical foundation that prepares them to exhibit compassion and tolerance in a global community.
- Harbor graduates are culturally experienced and conversant in the humanities.
- They are reflective leaders who negotiate effectively.
- They are prepared to fulfill their best dreams because they view themselves as works in progress.
What are the Mission and the Portrait of a Graduate?
The Mission of an independent school is the wellspring of vision and energy for the school. It captures the values and aspirations of the founders, the board of trustees, and the school's leadership and faculty. It helps guide decisions; it helps set standards for assessing the school's curriculum. It catches and expresses an essential part of the school's spirit.
The Portrait of a Harbor Graduate reflects our aspirations for our students. It derives from the mission, but if the mission is a place to start, the portrait is where we hope to end. It is our aim that every Harbor student acquire these qualities during their Harbor careers.
Both these statements are aspirational. They reflect the essential things we strive for. And they reflect the truth that while the aspirations are clear, the school itself is always a work in progress, reflecting, evaluating, improving, evolving. That is like education itself, and like the cherished value reflected in the last point of our Portrait.
Our Motto: Sine labore nihil
From its very beginning in 1958, the motto of Harbor Country Day School has been Sine labore nihil - Without work, nothing. It comes from the Latin poet Horace. For five decades, Harbor graduates have remembered the motto as one of life's truths - that nothing comes without hard work. At Harbor we teach children how to work with purpose, and we also make it fun. French class may fill the school with the aroma of fresh crepes; science class may travel on the school's bus to explore a nearby wetland; English class may read, discuss and write about a novel that strikes at the heart of a young adolescent's concerns. We teach and show by example that creative, purposeful, enjoyable work is an essential part of a fully-lived life.
Our Symbol: The Scallop Shell
In 1958, Spencer P. Kennard became the first headmaster of a brand-new country day school in Saint James. Among his many tasks was to create a symbol for the school, and rather quickly he and Mrs. Kennard, along with the board of trustees, selected the scallop shell as the school's symbol.
The scallop shell has special, layered meanings. It evokes our proximity to Long Island Sound. It is a symbol of the town of Saint James, and is the state shell of the State of New York. Thus it strongly suggests a connection with our locale and our local history. But it means more as well. It has been a powerful symbol going back at least to the Middle Ages, when it became associated with the figure of Saint James, and thus came to symbolize the virtue of charity, as well as the pilgrimage or journey -- in our case, the journey of education. The scallop shell has also been used in heraldry, and appears on the family crest of none other than Winston Churchill. In one of the school's first formal documents, the scallop shell was hand-drawn - not once, but four times!
Soon after, Mrs. Kennard incorporated the scallop shell into a crest that would embody the school's nature and aspirations. She chose a shield, which suggests tradition, and an open scroll, which connotes learning, on a deep forest-green field. It's a safe bet that Mr. Kennard chose the Latin motto, Sine labore nihil, which generations of Harbor students have taken to heart. Thus Harbor's shield, with its Latin motto, its scallop shell, and its parchment scroll, together suggest tradition, charity, hard work, and the journey of education. It has been closely identified with Harbor for five decades.
Today a stylized version of the scallop shell has become a public face of Harbor Country Day School, appearing on everything from the school's bus to the web site. The shield, with its open scroll and Latin motto, has been elevated for the most prestigious uses, including our diplomas.