Unveiling the Refreshed Crest of Catholic Junior College
By Dr Gillian Koh, Member, School Management Committee, Catholic Junior College
5 July 2013
It is my great pleasure to witness the unveiling of the refreshed Crest of my beloved alma mater, Catholic Junior College, today.
Before we do ‘the big reveal’, please allow me to take a few minutes to walk you through the one and three quarter year journey that has brought us to this point.
In fact, the journey began in 1975 with the formation of Catholic Junior College. The aim then as it still is today, is to provide a holistic education experience to students preparing for the GCE ‘A’ level examinations which would be marked by first, how well the College ‘value-adds’ to the students – that they end on a higher educational trajectory than when they entered, and second, the longer effect of how they go on to create a positive social impact wherever life may take them.
But the journey of refreshing the Crest also began with a look ahead - to 2015, a mere two years from now, when we celebrate our 40th Anniversary, we thought about what we have achieved and what are hopes are for the future of CJC. We stand on a firm foundation thanks to the leaders and students of the past. We know our strengths, especially our excellence in the humanities and language. We can take pride in the fact that many of our old boys and girls give their best to do good at leadership levels in industry, government, academia, and the media.
Being a member of the School Management Committee, I can also say that the SMC or ‘the Board’ for short, is also acutely aware of areas where we can do better.
With the 40th year milestone in sight, and our foundation and track record in mind, the Board embarked on a strategic review of the College in 2010.
True to our mission, current Principal Mrs Christine Kong has been leading her team to look systematically at two key prongs of the work: one, improving the pedagogy and content of academic teaching; and two, at creating the conditions and channels through which character-development, the training in life and work-skills and the nurturing of social consciousness can happen.
We care about students’ grades but more importantly we care about students’ lives – how they live it in school, beyond its walls, in the community.
Students have had a flavor of this fresh impetus to achieve our dual mission through the new Ignite Programme. This is where teachers stretch students in critical thinking, conceptual understanding and interdisciplinary thinking. Through a rigourous service learning project, students deliberate on social and political issues. The Ignite Programme is a prototype programme that will be refined to hopefully, take us to the gold standard of academic excellence and service orientation. Successful ideas tried out here can later be implemented College-wide, so that all students will be leveled-up to that standard, over time.
Now to the Crest. As the school management was under-taking its strategic review, the Board decided that our Crest and branding should also reflect not only our foundation and history, but also our aspirations for the College.
The current Crest, adopted in 1975, reminds us that the College attains to its mission only if it remembers its Catholic underpinnings and inspiration. But was there more we could do to make it capture our aspirations?
So in the third quarter of 2011, that is what we embarked on. A team was tasked to refresh the Crest and with that, the branding of the College, so that it will be an effective graphic representation of once again, our foundation, our history as well as our aspirations. It was asked to ensure that this was done with close engagement with the CJC Community. I was happy to be involved in the work.
As the journey unfolded, it became clearer on the practical front that there were at least three things we needed to do. The first was to improve on the artwork, and technology that did not exist in 1975 would allow for that. The second was to give the much beloved College Flame pride of place in the Crest. Third, was to ensure that the outcome conveyed a sense of dynamism that we hope would overtake the College in the days ahead.
Let’s take a look at the current Crest. The central symbol of the College is the dove which in the Catholic tradition represents the Spirit of God. The current Crest depicts the Spirit descending on the CJC Community to give it strength and inspiration to fulfill the College’s mission.
It is the Spirit of truth and love, and hence the motto of the College, In Truth and Love, ‘In Veritate et Caritate’. You see the tongues of fire that reinforce the notion of the descent of the Spirit of God described in the Bible in the book of Acts. There is the four pointed star to symbolise the cross of Christ but there are two stars because really they are an artistic device to anchor the icon. The Crest is in the shape of a shield.
There were three principal stages in the design process before we arrived at the refreshed Crest.
First, the conceptual stage. Designers were commissioned to offer three broad conceptual designs to be subjected to a public survey among the CJC Community. You, your friends, old boys and girls of CJC, parents of students, current and former staff, some 2393 people gave views online about these. With the votes and their very valuable comments, even the negative ones, we refined the design. We also received input on a tagline that would help us ‘flesh out’ our College motto and encapsulate what we hope each CJCian will aim to be: ‘Thinker with a Mission, Leader with a Heart’.
Second, the refinement stage. As we were refining the ideas, the nitty-gritties of the design and its message, we felt it was necessary to hold focus group meetings with key CJC stakeholders for more detailed input. We held seven of them with the following groups of people: alumni (two meetings); alumni in the creative and design industries; students; parents of students; staff; members of the Catholic Community.
There was broad consensus on what the design needed. They also said that the design should speak of ‘Community’, ‘Care’, ‘Excellence’, ‘Impact’, ‘Vibrancy’. It should also be as close to the current Crest as possible.
Third, the decision stage. A council of nine people was convened to make the final decision on the design on the 23 April this year. The members were:
- Chairman, School Management Board – Mr Gerard Lee (Alumnus)
- Principal – Mrs Christine Kong
- School Chaplain – Fr Leslie Raj
- Representative from CJC Student Council – Mr Peh Zheng Wei, President, 38th Student Council
- Representative of CJC Teachers – Mr Eugene Yeow
- Head, Parent Support Group – Mr Winston Tang
- Representative of CJC Alumnus – Ms Teo Swee Lian
- Representative of CJC Alumnus – Prof Tan Cheng Han
- Representative of CJC Alumni Association EXCO – Mr Simon Tan
The council asked that further work be done. We traversed the final mile with their guidance and a vote on two options was finally taken.
That brings us to today.
You will see shortly that the dove is still the central symbol of the logo in the refreshed Crest; it looks like it is in elegant yet active descent upon the College to help keep Christ alive in the community, where Christ is represented by a cross. This replaces the stars in the current Crest. The College Flame takes pride of place in the design in its full glory, standing like a torch of the light of God, of knowledge and wisdom above the words ‘CJC’. The shield is retained to speak of the need to guard ourselves from evil, and live in ‘truth and love’. The gold of the current Crest has been retained to speak of the excellence we seek in learning and living. We hope it captures the aspiration to be a dynamic, vibrant College community, that brings light and positive social influence wherever its members are to be found.
It has been decided that as has been the practice, the Flame will continue to be like the ‘short signature’ of the College. The Crest will be found on all formal, institutional collaterals. There will be no change to the uniform, the collar-badge and the navy blazers.
It will take the team a few months yet to fully weave in the new Crest and branding into all the collaterals. So I hope you will be patient.
As I close, I would say that I have been struck by the passion of all those who have shared their views with us in the one and three quarter year journey, at each step of the way. They care dearly for the past but even more so for the College’s future. I wish to thank all of them and especially members of the decision-making council, members of the Board, and the design team of Brand Theatre which is also led by alumnus, Jerome Joseph. Designer Julienne Guilles deserves special mention for how earnest she was to do her best for us.
Each of you, in that light-blue uniform with that Flame on your collar is an ambassador of the College. And today, with the unveiling of the refreshed Crest, you know that many who were in the College before you, many in the broader CJC Community wish you the best, and hope that you too will renew your commitment to give your best first, to yourself and second, to the College. If ever the going gets tough, may the Crest prompt you to look heavenwards for what you need.
When you eventually join this broader CJC Community as an alumnus, they hope you will seek to strengthen ‘the brand’ as salt and light to the world. Let people say that you make the world a better place with your presence, because you are a CJCian!
In veritate et caritate.