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Electric dept. wants students’ spark

May 3, 2013

COLUMBIA CITY — Youth will be served — a common expression that describes the relationship between the Columbia City Electric Department and a graphic arts class at Columbia City High School.

The city began a contest within the graphic arts class at the high school, taught by Chad Moore, to design a new logo for the electric department. The winning design will go on letterhead and be on the door of a new vehicle for the department.

“It’s one of those things where I was really looking to get involved with the schools,” said Shawn Lickey, who will take over as the electric department superintendent next month.

Moore said the project is an opportunity for his students to connect with the real world. His classes have already done similar work with businesses around the community, and as a teacher, he enjoys the experience that comes for his students from project-based learning.
“It’s a win for the business. They can get something done,” he said. “They can also go back to the students and say what parts they liked. The students get the process of revision, and get to see what that’s like.”

Advantages for the business also come from the volume of proposals. Typically, a professional firm might submit four to five ideas. But Moore said just one of his students may submit more than 20.
“A whole class full of kids can get them more than 100,” he said.
Moore said he appreciates the principles from the business world that his students have a chance to learn.

“The city will get the right to refuse,” he said. “If none of the kids do a good job, if there are no good logos, then they can refuse, and that’s a good lesson too.”

He added, though, that has not happened yet in his experience.
Another lesson the students learn is that the customer is always right.
“We may pick the best one or two, but sometimes they will go out in left field and pick something we didn’t expect,” Moore said.

Doing this for nearly a decade has given Moore’s class a reputation. Lickey said he instantly thought of graphic arts class to design a new logo.

“I really wanted something catchy, to catch the eye,” he said. “My first thought was Mr. Moore at the art department. He said they have done it for other companies and I thought it sounded like an excellent idea.”
Interacting with real-life people and customers is what Moore said he supports.

“I try to emphasize project-based learning,” he said. “We’ve been doing it for nine years now. It’s something we’re really good at, giving the students real-life problems and they find solutions.”
Moore and Lickey said a winner for the contest should be announced later this month.

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