Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Students forging a new future identity

What's in a logo? When you think about the purpose of a school crest or logo, you realise that this image is actually a very powerful symbol which represents some key idea, notion or value related to the identity and history of a school.

Papakura High has a logo which of course was designed for the opening of the school in 1954, which portrays an image of Mount Everest. The close connection of Sir Edmund Hillary with the Papakura region has meant a number of schools and organisations have made use of this in their logos and visual features. Accompanying the logo is the Latin motto "Summa pete" meaning "Seek the Highest."  More than half a century has passed since then, and the students of Papakura High, who comprise a very different community to that of the foundation students of Papakura High School, struggle to see any connection with the logo and the Latin motto.

At the beginning of this year, as part of our whanau development, students were elected to form a body which would provide a voice for the students of our school, and which would empower them to take on a role in forging a new identity for our school. This group is known as Te Kaunihera a Akonga -  the Student Council. I see the formation of this student team  as a critical step forward in helping our students take ownership of their school. Over the past months, they have had numerous discussions and brainstormed their ideas about the kinds of images which they think would best suit the Papakura High of today, and into the future. These 30 students (ten  from each whanau) have come up with a wealth of ideas and images. They have been excited about their role in shaping the future, a responsibilty which they greatly appreciate. They understand the importance and value of traditions, but they also want to be part of a future focussed school which will serve both them and the next generation and want the logo to signal this. 

This process has now moved to the next stage - the school has engaged a graphic design firm with experience in this area, to assist a sub-committee of Te Kaunihera a Akonga. In a few weeks the designers, who have been delighted with the input and creativity of our students,  will present them with their first range of images from the concepts discussed. Our students will hugely benefit from their involvement in this iterative process - the learning about the phases of design work. Who knows where this might lead our students in their own future pathway?

The school's logo representing Mt Everest

1 comment:

  1. Kia ora John, I really appreciate the way you give learners agency over school matters like the logo. There is a different sense of ownership around the school both for teachers and learners. Shift is happening.
    Ngā mihi,