No. 147 | Life & Learning

Badges, Buttons, Patches, and Pins

What you can learn about a McDonogh student from what’s on their blazer.

Since the 1880s, the McDonogh uniform has told the stories of the students who wore them. The 1883 uniform jackets featured six brass buttons on the front and two on each sleeve, there was red braid around the collar and on the outside pocket and sleeves. Throughout the military years, patches and pins added designated rank and awards to the uniform. Today, McDonogh’s Wilson | Young Archives and Special Collections has one of the largest and most significant collections of military insignia from the first 100 years of the School. 

Today, each student wears a patch featuring the School seal (see story No. 21) on their blue uniform blazer. It connects them to students of the past and future. Among the other buttons and pins affixed to students’ blazers are:

  • Gold Star: On Memorial Day, each student, faculty member, and guest is given a gold star pin to wear in remembrance of those who perished in the conflicts.
  • Fourth Grade Pin: Homeroom teachers place a McDonogh pin on each child’s blazer lapel at a special breakfast prior to the annual Lower School Closing Ceremony.
  • Eighth Grade Pin: The four linked rings represents each year of Middle School and express that the class is united through the knowledge and values that McDonogh offers. The pin was designed by members of the Class of 2024 when they were in eighth grade. 
  • McD Pin: Given to juniors at a ceremony (see story No. 53)
  • Greatest Good McDonogh Social Impact Pin: Given to students (fourth grade and older ) in recognition of their transformational leadership and contribution to a signature Greatest Good McDonogh impact initiative.
  • Orange Key Pins: Given to Upper and Middle School tour guides who are an important part of the admissions program.
  • “Awesome” Button: A favorite word of Headmaster Charlie Britton, each student wore the button as a surprise on Headmaster’s Day in 2018, when he retired.

Learn more about McDonogh School's rich history by visiting the archives online.

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