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On Saturday night, master stone carver Pawel Nawrocki rested, satisfied with his creation after a year of artistry and sweat.

As Pawel finished installing his Griffin sculpture in its place of honor, I could see the unmistakable emotion on his face, even from behind his mask. This was a very personal project for Pawel, father of a Roycemore first-grader. Mindful that our mascot represents strength and courage, Pawel volunteered his extraordinary talent to inspire his daughter and all Roycemore Griffins.

Pawel Nawrocki specializes in the renovation of historic architecture. In 2002, he received a Master’s degree in preservation of cultural heritage and conservation of architecture from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland. His restoration of historical treasures extends as far as a Roman theater in Warsaw to the gates at Arlington National Cemetery.

Roycemore is enormously grateful to benefit from Pawel Nawrocki’s gift.

On Monday morning, students and faculty had a chance to see the Griffin for the first time, including Pawel’s own daughter, Nina in first grade who, with her class, were the first to get to visit. The students were amazed to learn how long it took Nina’s dad to carve the Griffin. They tried to gain an understanding of how much it weighs, “As much as an elephant?” And they noticed the Roycemore shield on the base, carved with the date 1915. When asked if they knew what that was, one student proudly said, “Roycemore’s birthday!”

In the early days of Roycemore, the freshman class, which would be the Class of 1919, was charged with the important task of deciding on a mascot for our fledgling school. They selected a mythical creature — the Griffin — as it was part of the family crest of the first Headmistress’ family, but also for its symbolism of magical strength, limitless courage, unique boldness, and authentic leadership.

Little did these young women know how prescient this choice was. Long before the novel series Harry Potter became a worldwide phenomenon, our Griffin mascot captured the imagination of Roycemore students. Dating to the middle ages or even earlier, the Griffin has the body and tail of a lion and head and wings of an eagle, animals known for great strength with one being the king of earth animals and the other of air animals — together a powerful combination. Griffin was also selected as the name for the school’s yearbook, and has been ever since.

Now, thanks to Pawel Nawrocki, master stone carver, the Griffin will inspire generations of students to achieve their limitless potential by being strong, courageous, bold and authentic. You could call it Griff-Inspiration. Or, the word we have adopted: Griffinity!

Griffinity: (noun) The quality of being Roycemore-Griffin-like. Embodying a sense of community coupled with a sense of fun. Magical. Limitless. Unique. Authentic.