New Logo and Slogan Designed by Students Unveiled for Polk County Public Schools

In April of 2018, Polk County Public Schools revealed a student-created logo and slogan to replace the long-used “Knowledge is Power” seal.

“We’re so proud of our students and of the process we took to arrive at this new look for the school district,” said Senior Director of Communications Rachel Pleasant.

“We had two goals for the logo project: To develop a new logo and slogan and to give our kids one-of-a-kind learning opportunities. We achieved both. The school district and our community should be very proud.”

Students studying in graphic design career academies at the following schools competed to create the school district’s new logo and slogan: Auburndale High School, Bartow High School, Gause Academy of Leadership, George Jenkins High School, Haines City High School, Lake Gibson High School, and Lake Region High School.

The students were mentored during the development process by representatives from the following graphic design/marketing firms:

•           Curious Jane, represented by Sandra Horan and Nichole Hamilton
•           Image Depot Express, represented by Ryan Dell
•           Lkldr Creative, represented by Daniel Barcelo
•           MADE Brands, represented by Allen Reed
•           Tinsley Creative, represented by Donovan Tinsley
•           University of South Florida Communications & Marketing, represented by Steve Dapcic
•           Webber International University’s Marketing Department, represented by Ronald Weber

Additionally, the Central Florida Development Council and Polk Vision provided public-speaking coaching to prepare students to pitch their final designs.

The logo and slogan contest kicked off in February, with an opening symposium where each of the business partners presented on a different aspect of the branding process, including logo design and best practices.

For approximately two months following the symposium, each of the business partners met one-on-one with each student team. During those meetings, the professionals critiqued the students’ work and offered insights from their many years of experience in branding and graphic design.

In early April, Sean Malott, president/CEO of Central Florida Development Council, Kim Long, executive director of Polk Vision, and Pauline Simmonds-Brown, community engagement coordinator of Polk Vision, met with the student teams to offer suggestions for improving their presentations.

On April 10, students pitched their final designs to the business partners, who unanimously selected the winning design revealed during Tuesday evening’s Board meeting.

The winning design was created by Auburndale High School students Conner Grove, Caitlynn McCahill, Ross Persichetti and Jaedyn Smith who were led by their teacher, Emily Kauwell. The Auburndale High School logo represents the three levels of K-12 education — elementary, middle and high — and the ultimate goal of the school district, which is to help every child reach graduation. The slogan is “Students First.”

Image Depot Express agreed to donate new stickers for the school district’s white fleet, a new plaque for the School Board dais, and new decals for doors at the Polk County Public Schools’ Administrative Offices in Bartow. Additionally, Image Depot created an online store, where members of the public could order merchandise featuring the new logo and tagline.

“It has been our pleasure to be associated with Polk County Public Schools and this rebranding project,” said Ryan Dell with Image Depot Express. “We believe in putting students first and hope the new brand inspires community involvement within the county’s educational system.”

Sale proceeds were divided among the Auburndale High School students, who also received $600 each, courtesy of the Polk Education Foundation, during a School Board meeting. Proceeds also contributed to the rebranding expense.

“We are very proud of all the students for their hard work during the course of this competition, and we are most grateful to the business partners who volunteered to be part of this process,” said Superintendent Jacqueline M. Byrd. “There can be only one winner, but all the students succeeded in gaining valuable real-world learning experiences and connections with the business community. At Polk County Public Schools, students have always and will always come first — and now the community will be reminded of that every time they see our new logo.”