Fourth-grader designs flag for Clippard Elementary

Saturday, February 14, 2004

He's got orange and black stripes, spiky hair and lots of energy. He doesn't have a name, but thanks to the artistry of 9-year-old Charisma Desai, the swirly-eyed tiger cub now represents Clippard Elementary on the school's first official flag.

Her inspiration for the flag came from Frosted Flakes cereal's Tony the Tiger.

"But I made mine more childish," she said.

Charisma drew her flag, which also includes the school's theme -- "Peaceful, Accountable and Well-behaved" or PAW -- as part of a class project that turned into a contest for a school flag design.

Her design was chosen as the best from among those of 60 other fourth-grade students by teachers at Clippard, and then was turned into a 5-foot plastic flag that eventually will hang in the school's entry hall.

"It's pretty good, but I didn't know if they would choose it," Charisma said. "I think we needed a school flag so we can show other schools."

The idea for the contest came about from a lesson fourth-grade teacher Teri Jones was teaching on the Missouri state flag. The students were asked to draw a flag with symbols that represented Clippard.

"The challenge for students was to come up with a flag that made us different from other schools," Jones said.

Students first used computers to design their flags, then drew them out on paper using crayons. Most of the students stuck with the school colors of orange and black and included tiger paw prints and the school's theme.

Some students used symbols less specific to Clippard, like outlines of the state of Missouri or dogwoods, but Jones said the lesson was a success.

"I think when they look at flags now they'll realize everything on them has a meaning to it," she said.

Charisma will be recognized at an all-school assembly in March, and then the flag will be hung inside the school.

Clippard principal Sydney Herbst said she likes the project because it incorporated a variety of learning tools, something the school is trying to do more of.

"I think the idea was really cool because it pulled a lot of different areas into this one project," Herbst said. "And it gave the students an opportunity to have fun."

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