Monday, February 8, 2010

It's Not a Coat of Arms, It's a "Shield"

I ran across a television ad (no, let’s be real; it was a whole lot of ads) for Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, Texas. TVS is a private Kindergarten through twelfth grade coeducational college preparatory school, which is not affiliated with any specific religious denomination, unlike many of the private K-12 schools in the area, though they do affirm a belief in God.

What struck me immediately in their advertisements was the prominent use of the “TVS Shield” (they do not call it a coat of arms or even a crest, but do treat it like a logo). A quick search on their website at gave the following meanings for the various parts of the shield:

The arch represents the protective umbrella of the school.

The student in the Trojan helmet represents a classical education.

The figures represent the four educational objectives of the Trinity Valley School philosophy.*

The waves represent the sea, the endless quest for knowledge and the meaning of life while fulfilling the motto.**
* “Fine scholarship with its fulfillment at college; the development of wide constructive interests; intelligent citizenship; and spiritual and moral development which promotes lasting values.”

** Per aspera ad astra, “to the stars through difficulties”.


  1. Is that motto on the shield intentionally similiar to the British Royal Air Force's ('Per Ardua ad Astra'
    - Through Adversity to the Stars)?

  2. I suspect that they took it from something a little closer to home; the motto of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is "ad astra per aspera" ("to the stars through difficulties"). NASA's command center is in Houston, just a few hours down the road from Fort Worth.

    Now, it is entirely possible that NASA patterned its motto on the RAF's; I wouldn't put it past them to do so, though I've seen no documentation that they did or did not.

    "Ad astra per aspera" is also, however, the state motto of the State of Kansas; it is possible that there is a connection from the school to the state. There's a fair bit of historical information about when and why at: