By David Slone
WARSAW – The city of Warsaw has an official logo, but not an official flag.
Some students would like to change that.
During the Common Council meeting on Monday, June 20, Warsaw Community Schools teachers Brock Rhodes and Jake Peattie and their summer school STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) class gave a presentation on a proposal for a city flag based on research they’ve done.
The students are in grades fourth through sixth.
“I think this is a great example of a STEM project in Warsaw Community Schools. There are several components that we always try to include in STEM projects,” Peattie said.
The students ask questions to drive civic pride in Warsaw, try to include authenticate data they collected and analyzed themselves and have a public audience.
With the city flag project, Rhodes said they’ve integrated reading, writing, history and math standards across the three grade levels.
He said that while they understand the city has a flag, the students believe, based on lots of community input, they have evidence that the community members of Warsaw are both open to adopting a new flag and they particularly support one specific design. The students then presented their case, though they didn’t give their names as they made their statements.
The first two students pointed out that the North American Vexillological Association has developed five rules for flag design: Keep it simple. Use two to three basic colors. Include meaningful symbolism. No letters or numbers. And be unique.
“These guidelines helped us in creating a draft for the flag that we as a class has made to become the new city flag,” one of the students said.
After learning how to make a proper flag, a female student said each student designed a flag. Eventually, the flags were reviewed and ideas of what should and shouldn’t be on the flag were discussed and the flags were narrowed down to 12, and then to four.
Whether it’s horizontal or vertical, another student said, the suggested flag looks the same. They studied what worked and didn’t work for other city flags and decided to keep their flag simple while still reflecting what best represents Warsaw.
Students put out surveys to the public about what they would like to see on the flag. Some of the suggestions were representations of the industries, lakes and schools; and the colors blue, orange and grey or silver.
Surveys were put out at The Boathouse, Kelainey’s, Warsaw Community Public Library, Wire & Steam, Crazy Eggs, MudLOVE, The Igloo, Rocket Fizz, Starbucks and Old National Bank.
The survey for the final four designs got a total of 768 votes, with the top receiving “option 2” receiving 52.1% of the votes.
Option 2 has a grey triangle that represents the industries of Warsaw, the orange represents all of Warsaw’s schools while a four-spoke star represents the city’s location at the intersection of U.S. 30 and Ind. 15. Blue on the flag represents the lakes. The orange over the blue represents the sunset over the lakes. The horizontal colors pay tribute to Warsaw, Poland, which Warsaw, Ind., was named after.
The STEM class had a total of 42 students that met over three weeks.
While the Council didn’t take any vote on Monday, the Council was told that the class worked with Blosser’s to be a supplier of flags, decals, etc.
Mayor Joe Thallemer said the class did a very good job and their presentation was very persuasive. He said the city has a logo that was redesigned about 20 years ago, but it doesn’t have a flag. He said the students gave the Council a lot to think about.