New school. New logo. New mascot.
Promising a nurturing environment for sixth grade students to explore arts, athletics and world language while helping students discover their interests, talents and opportunities for future success in middle school and beyond, the new Aiken Intermediate School has been branded the “Home of the Explorers.”
The school will open Aug. 19 for all Aiken County Public Schools' sixth graders in Area 1 in the Aiken High and South Aiken High attendance areas. The former Aiken Middle School, which held an official closing ceremony May 31, is being repurposed for the school.
This spring, students, parents and community members were invited to an event to meet Aiken Intermediate School Principal Denise McCray and to help the school develop a visual identity through a branding exercise to create a logo and mascot for the new school.
“While a number of varied ideas were presented, the theme of exploration and The Explorer as a mascot were favorites among many participating students and families,” District Communications Director Merry Glenne Piccolino said in a news release from the district.
The school’s colors of green and gold were chosen as a nod of respect to former faculty and students of Aiken Middle School and to honor the tradition of the campus, which served as a school for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students from 1995 from 2019.
The modern circular logo features an Explorer facing outward to a world ready for exploration and discovery. The Explorer holds a flag that will be planted during each new learning experience students engage in as they prepare to make their mark.
The interior of the logo is designed as a compass to represent the many different directions student explorations will take.
Along the bottom of the logo are the words “Explore” and “Discover.”
The mascot and logo will be announced in a letter from McCray to students and parents this week.
“We hope that you’re as happy with this logo and mascot as we are,” McCray said in the release. “If you look closely at our logo, you might notice the circular shape is actually a compass. A compass provides direction and helps you find your way, and that is our purpose. Our Explorer is facing the world, ready to explore, discover and leave his or her mark.”
The Aiken County School Board approved the school district's recommendation to create Aiken Intermediate School in January 2018.
Following their sixth-grade year at the school, students will attend either Kennedy Middle School or Schofield Middle School for seventh and eighth grades, according to their attendance areas. Students at Kennedy will then attend South Aiken High, and Schofield students will attend Aiken High.
During a series of town-hall meetings before the School Board approved the recommendation, school district officials said creating the sixth-grade intermediate school would create a more balanced student populations in Aiken's middle schools and allow for more efficient use of facilities.