The Rev. Canon Rawnsley, before distributing the prizes, said it was a great pleasure as well as a duty to come to their prize-giving, because he was one of those who believed that the backbone of England was in its schools…. That afternoon he wished to speak to them of the meaning of the word Windermere and hang up his teaching on each of the letters of the word.
He chose Work for the first letter, W, because they were going to have their holidays, and no shirker at school could possibly enjoy his holidays; the only boys who were going to have a fine time now were the boys who had done their very best and had worked hard during the year….
The next letter, I, signified Industry. They had heard just now a great deal about boys who earned a great deal of credit to themselves and to the school, whose only joy it was to win honour to themselves and the school, and to give delight and pleasure to their parents. When they passed away from the school, they would be found many a time in a tight place, but they would do their duty for the love of the old school. He asked them to have a love of industry—he believed in the plodding, to do one’s best, and he urged them to be the great plodders at school such as John Nelson and Sidney Studholme; these lads had shown throughout the term a willingness to stick and put their shoulders to the work of the school for the joy of the whole school.
He came now to N for Nerve—actually they learned in school games to get them the nerve which would last them for life…. Let them go in for games with all their heart; it would win them nerve.
The letter D recalled to him the motto of the school at York, “Disce ut Doceas,” which meant “learn that you may teach.” If the lads would take that as their motto from the very first day they entered school, he believed they would be fulfilling their highest purpose, and the boy who looked on his task at school not as something to be got through as the penalty or punishment of being at school, but as a joy and a pleasure, he would be sure to go on learning something useful all his life….
E suggested Education. What was it? It was not the mere cramming of their heads and minds with certain facts. He would tell them what it was. It was to kindle by their work such a love of the facts they learned that they would go on loving them to the end. It was mind matter—a real awakening within themselves of mind and mind matter…. It was the sole object of school to teach them to govern themselves; not so much to be governed as to exercise self-control and self-restraint. That was the true joy of education. The headmaster did not want them to be clever parrots; he wanted them to go out into the world with minds of their own, and make the world better….
R meant Resourcefulness, which suggested the usefulness of the workshop. He urged them to go on with their work with their hands. No one could be said to be educated unless side by side with the headwork he had a handicraft….
M stood for Manners—he thought sometimes boys forgot manners. He might say that a good-mannered man was able to influence people more than a clever but bad-mannered man….
E was for England or English. There was a feeling that their English wanted looking after; there had not been the chance as there ought to be to get completely acquainted with the laws of English composition….
The letter R was for Reading. They had been cramming their heads so that there was no time for reading….
The last letter, E, was for Eye—the power of observation…. He said shame on the Windermere boy who had no love for the beauty of his district….. Why should they not have their hearts lifted up by every single flower and bud? He asked them to learn to observe—to use their eyes. They must remember that school was fitting them for their after life….
(Lakes Chronicle and Reporter, 5 August, 1909, p. 5)