Decades from now, when three Darien students look back upon their school experiences, chances are that a highlight will be helping design the logo for their town’s 200th anniversary celebration in 2020.
At Wednesday’s 2020 Bicentennial Subcommittee of the Monuments & Ceremonies Commission’s special meeting, the committee unanimously approved the logo the students created as the official logo to be used for all 2020 celebration material.
The logo is a navy blue Darien town map, with the number “200” inside it in yellow, and a light blue and yellow ribbon coming out of both sides. Underneath is “1820-2020.” The town was established in 1820.
According to Darien Historical Society Director Maggie McIntire, the logo will appear on all official town correspondence relating to the celebration, and will also be offered to any town nonprofit organization that’ s holding a special celebration to mark the bicentennial.
“In addition, it will be featured on official merchandise that will be sold to offset the costs of the town’s celebratory events,” McIntire said. “Official sponsors of the town’s 2020 celebration will also be given permission to use the logo.”
At the meeting, the three Darien High School juniors — Kelly Niederreither, Will Henry Harmon, Charlie Callery — were formally recognized for their work on the logo and congratulated by Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson.
The students — all future graduates of Darien High School’s class of 2020 — have been working on the logo for the past five months.
According to Sarah Lexow Keena, a member of the town’s 2020 Committee who coordinated the logo contest, the students worked on the logo with professional graphic designer West Bielstein.
Bielstein also happens to be Darien High School graduate — in the class of 2014. He is a 2017 graduate of Belmont University in Nashville, and lives in Tennessee.
The logo project has been in progress for about a year.
“It’s been a labor of love and a process,” Lexow Keena said. “I have worked with these kids for five months now. I’m so proud of them.”
Lexow Keena is a third generation Darien resident and past board member of the Darien Historical Society. She has been running education programs at the historical society for more than 15 years.
The students’ work on the logo is compiled in a book, which chronicles their progress. Keena said the book reflects the students’ individual designs sketched by hand and “what they came up with when you put them in a conference room in the library with some colored pencils and crayons. It’s really quite interesting.”
Will said he thought it would be a “really cool way to put ideas into a very worthy and honorable project. I had a lot of fun designing it with Kelly and Charlie.”
For Kelly, the experience was another “opportunity to get my work out there, so I thought it would be really nice to take it up. All the things I thought of Darien, I put onto one piece of paper,” she said.
Charlie said he has “always been interested in sports and the logos on jerseys that I’ve seen.”
The three students would “love” to be included in merchandising for the logo, according to Lexow Keena.
“They’ve got some really creative ideas, which is really kind of cool given the fact that they’re students… They know what the other students and people around town would like to wear and promote,” she said. “I’d love to have them on a side committee.”
On behalf of the Darien Historical Society, director Maggie McIntire, presented each student with a book called “The Story of Darien, Connecticut by town historian Ken Reiss, as well its Thaddeus Bell Award Certificate of Appreciation, and free one-year family memberships to the museum.
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said the logo the students have created “is going to live on for at least another 100 years until the next group of people long after we’re gone come back and look at this and say ‘Hey, how great was that in 2020, when they did this logo.’”
“The importance of your work can’t be underestimated so I want you to know that,” Stevenson added.
For more information on sponsorship opportunities for the town’s 2020 events, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the formal presentation of the logo, all three of the students wrote about their background, interests and why they got involved in the logo project:
My name is Charlie Callery. I am a 16-year resident of Darien and a junior at Darien High School. At the high school, I am a member of the National Honor Society and DECA, a business club. In addition, I play hockey and golf for the high school. Outside of school, I volunteer with Darien Youth Hockey, umpire Darien Little League games, and am a member of the St. Thomas More Youth Group. I have two siblings, an older sister who is a recent graduate of Darien High School who now attends Colby College, and a younger brother at Middlesex Middle School. As a huge fan of college and professional sports, I have developed an interest in their logos and emblems. I participated in this bicentennial project as a way to combine my interest in graphic design with an opportunity to honor my hometown – Darien.
Will Henry Harmon
My name is Will Henry Harmon and I have lived in Darien for 11 years. I am 17 years old and a current junior at Darien High School, where I am an active member of the National Honors Society, DECA business club, Math Honors Society, and Math Modeling Club. In addition, I will be a co-captain next season for the boy’s varsity soccer team. In my spare time, I enjoy coaching youth sports at the Waterside School in Stamford and the Darien YMCA. Additionally, I work with the e-commerce team for Ring’s End Lumber. I have two older sisters, Grace and Charlotte, who attend Colorado College and the University of Florida, respectively. The design of effective logos has always intrigued me, and I saw the Darien bicentennial logo competition as a great opportunity to put my ideas towards a worthy project.
My name is Kelly Niederreither and I have been a part of the Darien community my whole life. Darien for me is a place where I have been able to experiment with so many different interests and grow to discover what I am most passionate about. I have been able to play lacrosse and field hockey, but I have also been able to find my love for art and working with kids and other people. Definitely as my high schools years went on I fanned out my interests and found I enjoyed more than just sports. The middle of sophomore year I pretty much completely shifted my interests, becoming involved in the many opportunities Darien had to offer that I had not considered: coaching, tutoring, counseling, etc. Junior year for me was a big year for my art. I began investing myself more into the hobby and found I actually enjoyed it! I began taking classes in school and ended up submitting some of my pieces to competitions, and… safe to say I was happy with the results. The more I focused on my art, the more I wanted to do something with it – the 2020 logo design being a nice opportunity. I remember getting the form, and feeling eager to submit a great piece… and then completely forgetting about it until the night before the due date. Not taking into enough account that it was a logo design, I threw together all the first images and places I associated with Darien, and submitted the piece the next day. After dropping off my art I came home, read over the competition flyer for a “logo,” and thought great… I just submitted a literal collage of the town of Darien. Nevertheless, I got a second chance to work alongside the other submitters and individuals behind the contest. Moreover, I got the opportunity to try out a field of art I have never tried: graphic design. It was just another new field of interest that I was able to try and come to love.