Classic IGS ‘one percenter’

Languages are not fixed and permanent, but rather they evolve to meet the demands of the communities who use them and ultimately this is how a language stays alive. The evolution of the English language is one such example and so is the way in which some specific terms become widely used everyday phrases.

An example is the term ‘one percenter’, which is now commonly used in sport as a description of the small but important individual actions which contribute to a strong overall team performance. In AFL football, for example a list of one percenters would include spoils, smothers and shepherds.

Curiously though, the term ‘one percenter’ has its origins in a quite different domain.

The term was apparently first coined in 1947 when the American Motorcycle Association, in commenting in the media on a riot in California involving motorcyclists, stated that 99% of motorcycle riders were law-abiding citizens. At that point so-called outlaw motorcycle gangs started to be labelled as ‘one percenters’.

Let’s go with the sports definition ‘of one percenter’ though in the context of Ipswich Grammar School, as we’re not too keen on criminal outlaws.

Life tends to repeatedly throw up opportunities for small but important individual actions.

One of our favourite recent IGS ‘one percenter’ stories is of the two IGS boys who on their walk home from IGS one hot summer’s day came across an older gentleman struggling to mow his lawn in the heat. Our two lads approached the man to offer their help and soon enough they both had the job completed for him.

We only found out about this generosity because the man involved called our school to inform us of this kindness, but he was unable to provide us with the boys’ names as they didn’t even tell him their names. Neither did the boys come to my office to claim the ‘glory’ when I spoke about this on assembly.

This is a classic IGS ‘one percenter’. An act that although seemingly small, supports other people and demonstrates generosity.

In some ways, the IGS culture is less about the great names listed on the honour boards in the Great Hall and more about the generations of IGS boys who have been prepared to commit to a ‘one percenter’.

Our special IGS culture is enriched by generosity, service and kindness.

IGS boys grow to men as they think less about their own welfare and instead decide to consider others, help others and care about others.

Until next time

Richard Morrison