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What's in a logo? The new 'face' of city parks

New Castle Parks Supt. Mike Bergum presents Tri High School senior Jalen Lowder with a $100 check along with a framed-and-matted version of the logo he created, one that was chosen as the winner of a contest to help city parks with branding and marketing. The logo was framed and matted by Frost Framing of New Castle. Sweatshirts with the new logo have also been created and are worn here by both Bergum and Lowder.

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

Trees providing shade for picnics and children at play. Baker Park’s distinctive entrance. A place to cool off on a hot summer day.

For New Castle Career Center student Jalen Lowder, all of the above are more than just childhood memories. They were the inspiration behind a new logo he created, one that now is the “face” of the city parks department.

Lowder’s design was chosen from among 18 entries as winner of the New Castle Parks Board-sponsored logo contest. He was honored at Monday’s park board meeting with a matted-and-framed photo of the logo, a $100 check and a sweatshirt adorned with his creation on the front.

“We were looking to put a face with our name for branding and marketing purposes,” City Parks Supt. Mike Bergum explained. “We wanted to incorporate things that are unique to New Castle and Henry County in our parks and recreation department.

A Tri High School senior who attends the New Castle Career Center, Lowder said he had fond childhood memories of both Baker Park and Baker Pool before his family moved to Lewisville.

“I’ve always thought of the Baker Park gate as a big, important symbol to the park itself,” he said.

His first thought was to stop there, and make the logo just the gate. But then Lowder decided that a three-panel approach told a more complete story.

Two very special “Jennifers” joined in the celebration at Monday’s parks board meeting – Jennifer Lowder, mother of the winning student; and Jennifer Michael, the New Castle Career Programs teacher who encouraged him to enter.

“I was very excited and proud of him,” Jennifer Lowder, a New Castle graduate, said of her son. “He works hard and he’s always loved computers and art.”

“He’s very hard-working and very much a leader in the classroom,” Jennifer Michael said. “He helps a lot of first-year students get their ideas together. I think this really is his calling.”

Lowder, whose dad, Brandon is a Tri graduate, plans to attend IUPUI next fall and has been accepted into the prestigious Herron School of Art and Design.

Chris Lamb, director of the New Castle Career Center, said Lowder’s success story is one of many being created daily at the facility.

“It’s an honor that they chose his design and like many of our programs, I think it shows the kind of training kids get at the career center,” Lamb said. “It’s rigorous and it’s relevant. We hold them to a standard and hopefully, that is an industry standard. This young man has proven time and time again that he does quality work.”

Lowder admitted he “kind of got a little excited” in his New Castle Career Center classroom when given the news he had won the contest.

“Everybody was pretty happy for me, especially my teacher,” he said.

And chances are, it won’t be the last logo with his name behind it.

“I’m into the branding part of a business,” he said. “I like making logos and designs for advertising and marketing. I’m definitely looking to make graphic design a career.”