Some Grade 6/7 students in Williams Lake hope to inspire the city to replace its flag and have come up with some creative ideas of their own.
“I’m really quite nerdy about flags,” said their teacher Kevin McCarty, a first year teacher at Cariboo Adventist Academy. “My classroom has a whole bunch of flags from places I’ve been.”
While studying at Trinity Western University, he did a political science project on the city of Kelowna’s flag and thought it would be a “cool” thing to do with his students in Williams Lake during art classes on Fridays.
To inspire the the students, he showed them a TED Talk about the principles of good flag design, which he noted include keeping it simple, using meaningful symbolism, two or three basic colours, no lettering or seals and that it be distinctive or related.
“We had a little test based on the TED talk video where you try and draw a flag in a two by three inch square because that represents how it would look from 100 feet away, ” McCarty said.
It was fun to see the students get excited about the flag project, he added.
“Obviously when your teacher is into something it’s lame, and when I first talked about flags they kind of rolled their eyes. After we watched the TED Talk video, the students were saying, ‘oh, well this is really interesting.’”
The students asked McCarty if Williams Lake had a flag and when he told them it did, they were eager to see it.
When they saw it, however, they thought it could be improved upon, and decided they would work on flag designs and then McCarthy would send them to mayor and council.
After discussing different options, each student sketched out some rough copy ideas and then prepared a good copy along with an explanation.
On Tuesday, March 15, city council and staff will receive the submissions during a committee of the whole meeting.
There are 12 designs in total.
Each student has chosen one or few of the following elements – trees, mountains, the sun, a cowboy hat, a horseshoe, a wagon wheel, Scout Island, the Fraser River or a symbol they believe represents Williams Lake.
“The sun reminds me of the hot summer days in Williams Lake and how Williams Lake is a kind happy town,” wrote one student.
Another student noted “the wagon wheel says stuff about our town being more on the rodeo side or western.”
In a letter to mayor and council, McCarty noted he hoped to “spark interest in reviewing and renewing our city’s flag for our community’ a community worth honouring.”
He also submitted a flag design of his own.
Mayor Walt Cobb told the Tribune it is great the students would be interested in the flag.
He said the city’s crest on the existing flag came about through a competition held at Williams Lake High School.
“Mr. Esau was the art teacher and the request was put in the city by the time to have a competition,” Cobb said. “Linda Mallette was the student who won. I don’t remember what the prize was but they used her design. On one side is a cowboy and the other side has a logger. There is the old BMX stagecoach to tie in the gold rush trail and the gold pan on the bottom to represent the mining.”
If invited to speak with the students, Cobb said he would explain the crest’s design to them.
While he is from Kelowna, McCarty’s parents are both from Williams Lake and attended Cariboo Adventist Academy.
One of his aunts was part of the first class to use the classroom that he is teaching in today at the school.
“I have known the principal a long time,” he added. “We grew up playing against each other. I went to the sister Christian school in Kelowna and he grew up in Williams Lake and went to the school there. My former principal from Kelowna teaches in the classroom next to me, which is pretty cool.”