Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Explore our coverage of government and politics.

Latin Motto Takes Another Step Through Legislature

Herb Swanson
State senators consider a bill that would give Vermont a Latin motto, "Stella Quarta Decima Fulgeat." It means "May the fourteenth star shine brightly."

A proposal to give Vermont a Latin motto is moving quickly through the legislature. It’s the brainchild of fifteen-year-old Latin scholar Angela Kubicke, of Peacham. The motto, “Stella Quarta Decima Fulgeat” comes in part from the inscription on the one-cent coin that Vermont minted in the eighteenth century, referring to Vermont as the fourteenth state to join the union. Her proposal sparked a firestorm in social media from people who apparently confused Latin with Spanish, and objected to using the language of immigrants for a state motto. Undeterred, she pressed on.

Credit Herb Swanson /
State Senator Joe Benning, of Caledonia County, confers with constituent Angela Kubicke and her mother Anne about a bill to give Vermont a Latin motto.

On Friday, the bill’s sponsor, Caledonian County senator Joe Benning, urged fellow lawmakers to add the motto to the current English one, “Freedom and Unity.” He suggested a bit sardonically that it could spur economic activity as the name of a new beer, for example. But taking a serious turn, he said the motto was a great opportunity for “an educational process.”

Angela Kubicke, watching from the gallery, said she is getting quite an education watching her bill become, she hopes, law.

She found even this quick procedural vote fascinating. “I think that it was really exciting,” she said, “to see it happen.”

After the Senate voted to advance the bill, she wanted

to stay to see what action would be taken on another one, about public records. But her mother said she needed to feed the parking meter, and get Angela back to school at St. Johnsbury Academy, where she is a freshman.

Final approval for the Latin motto is expected soon.

Charlotte Albright lives in Lyndonville and currently works in the Office of Communication at Dartmouth College. She was a VPR reporter from 2012 - 2015, covering the Upper Valley and the Northeast Kingdom. Prior to that she freelanced for VPR for several years.
Latest Stories