TA News

Themes of the Year:  Aptitude-Attitude-Altitude and the Rest

Thetford Academy’s 2018-19 theme comes from a quote attributed to both Jesse Jackson and Zig Ziglar:

  • “It’s not your aptitude but your attitude that will determine your altitude.”

As I mentioned in my remarks to the TA student body on opening day (Aug. 28), regardless of whether Ziglar or Jackson said it first, or whether someone else came up with it originally, this lighthearted quote has an uplifting, motivational message that reminds us of how important it is that we develop an attitude of celebrating others rather than boasting about ourselves and our abilities.  When we do so, our whole community soars!

This is the seventh year Thetford Academy has used a short quote to represent our theme for the year.

The themes of the previous six years have featured the following quotes, all of which have maintained an action-oriented focus:

  • “You never really understand a person until you consider things from their point of view, till you climb into their skin and walk around in it.” —Harper Lee (2017-18 theme)
  • “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” —Jane Goodall (2016-17 theme)
  • “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”   —Archbishop Desmond Tutu (2015-16 theme)
  • “Leave the beaten track occasionally and dive into the woods. Every time you do so you will find something you have never seen before. Follow it up, explore around it, and before you know it, you will have something to think about to occupy your mind. All really big discoveries are the result of thought.” —Alexander Graham Bell (2014-15 theme)
  • “The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.” —Nelson Mandela (2013-14 theme)
  • “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead (2012-13 theme)

Featuring short and memorable quotes from well-regarded individuals as our themes of the year has enabled us to bring the themes to life, while providing students with historical context for the individuals we have featured.

While by the end of each school year some have delighted in poking fun at the quotes (a natural and healthy thing for teenagers to do), many students have also woven them into their essays and speeches over the years.  I am delighted to be able to bring Jackson and Ziglar into the dialogue of our Bicentennial school year, and I look forward to discovering how our students respond over the upcoming months.

—William Bugg, Aug. 28, 2018



We set high expectations. We challenge all members of the school community to reach their highest potential.


We value initiative, courage and dedication. We take personal responsibility for the goals we set and work hard to achieve them.


We work and learn together. We see teachers as coaches, students as team members, families as partners, and learning as practice and action.


We provide individuals with personalized support and guidance. We care about each other and the larger community.


We respect differences among people. We welcome the contribution of varied perspectives to a rich and flexible school culture.