The Voice We Have, Our Power: Driving a Change at School

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By Sebastián Olave Henao

One of the posters promoting We Have a Voice next to the House Trophies.

Walking by the school you may notice different posters of students, alumni, and staff members hanging around on the walls, presenting a message titled “We Have a Voice” followed by a meaningful word that describes an important value or idea. However, have you wondered what these posters truly are about? Are we conscious of what the phrase “We Have a Voice” genuinely symbolizes? The doubts and curiosity of what this concept is have cruised the minds of many,  which is why it is important to finally clear out our dubiousness and learn what We Have a Voice is, how valuable it is here at school, and the truly unknown power we have in our possession.

Our slogan at school is We Are One and many question if We Have Voice has come to replace that slogan, but needless to say, We Have a Voice is a newly introduced campaign here at school. This campaign transmits the message that students at Colegio Colombo Britanico have a voice, that they have been taught to act, to think, and to speak for themselves, and are informed academically and emotionally. This campaign wants to ensure that students at Colegio Colombo Britanico can build an opinion and share it with the world. When our school headmaster, Mr. Reeves, arrived 4 years ago, the school was thinking about creating a campaign to share and clear out the school’s true identity to both the inside and outside community. One day in a virtual conference with LAHC, the British company Oxford International Consultants did a presentation where they offered their service: advising the school in a branding exercise, marketing it, and communicating the school’s identity to a wider community. After careful consideration and investigation, the company’s proposals and offer were accepted.

One of the posters of the campaign, located next to admissions.

Colegio Colombo Britanico has been a strong-standing educational institution for over 67 years. The values taught and the high academic standards and demands have greatly impacted the school community; however, the school was apprehensive about sharing this with a wider outside community as they believed that by showing their true identity, parents would be demotivated to enroll their children in school. The desire to manifest the school’s beliefs and values was one of the motivations for creating the campaign “We Have Voice”.

Additionally, in an alumni survey conducted by the school in 2019, 2600 people were asked what made them proud to be part of CCB. There were three main answers: The discipline that the school taught them, the opportunity to learn English as a second language, and the values the school shared with the students. The information gained in this survey was another factor that led to the creation of the campaign.

In 2022, once the school decided to make the campaign a reality, there were meetings with branding experts who had experience working with Saatchi & Saatchi, an international advertising agency network that generates powerful connections between consumers and brands. It was necessary to talk to people in the community about what they think stands out in school. 43 people were picked; among them, there were staff members, students, alumni, and parents who were truly pleased with the school. The school wanted to learn what things made the people proud to be part of the institution and obtain from there the main ideas for the developing campaign. A brand formula for the campaign was created, which helped the school gain a deeper understanding of the campaign’s purpose, audience, and values.

However, with its recent release when branding was officially done in October 2023, the campaign was able to bring truly powerful messages to the school. Through every poster and picture the school wants to share a meaningful message. The people smiling, their laughter, represents a value, something more profound than what is just shown to the audience. In addition, this campaign has greatly helped admissions to build a more coherent speech on how to convey the essence of CCB to new parents wanting to enroll their children in school. Parents will know who we are as a school and they will be proud to send their kids to CCB.

The school has appreciably put the We Have a Voice campaign into action with many different moments. To start with, in one survey the school conducted, it was found that 20% of students felt that they were at risk at school. With this known, the school took action and started to focus more on the psychology and well-being of the students. It was decided for all of the school years to have advisory time, including 11th and 12th grades who didn’t have advisory time before.

Among other changes, you might have seen an important improvement regarding sports and inter-house competitions in the past years. The community was recommending that the sports be strengthened, and all of this led to better and more exciting inter-house events. Extracurricular participation was fostered and now close to 80% of the 1200 students at school are enrolled in extracurricular activities. All of these changes and ideas have come from the opinions of the school community, the We Have a Voice campaign has made it so we have the power to make a change, and thanks to it the school has become a better institution that hears out what the community needs to say to become better every day.

Casas inauguration 2021 - 2022 with newly styled mascots. A revived activity at school.

Not only do students have the power for a change but the entire school community as well. There was a parent who told Mr. Reeves that the flags at the entrance of the school were looking old and worn. It was agreed that the flags were going to be replaced with new ones which gave the entrance a brand new look. This small act that the school was willing to do made the parent and the community very proud and thankful to the school. The students have the power to take their opinion to the Advisory Board too, the idea is discussed and it is decided if it can pass or not. Some students asked if we could come to school in Crocs, this idea was not approved but it was able to reach the maximum power here at school, the Advisory Board. Students have the power to be heard, a voice that is powerful enough to make change not only here at school but also to shake the world that surrounds us with enough values and effort.

The school teaches the values that students need for life, developing their principles and soft skills to become better people. Solidarity, justice, respect, tolerance, honesty, and responsibility are the core values that make the school’s identity clear. A population that is heard has the power to change the world to a better place, but at school, the community doesn’t always recognize this power. Expressing any unconformities felt and suggestions at school is the best way to have the opportunity to make a change. Each of the community’s perspectives is important to grow as an institution and to become better people every day. Do not fear to share your voice with the school and with others, and make sure to never forget the power that we have, that We Have a Voice.

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