James Lyng High School students design their own uniforms

When it comes to school uniforms, students rarely have any say in how they look, but James Lyng High School in Montreal’s Saint-Henri district is changing that.

New school colours and design, created by Grade 9 students, will be ready for next school year

Wade Cain, 16, didn't like his school uniform so he proposed designing new ones with his classmates as part of a school project. (CBC)

When it comes to school uniforms, students rarely have any say in how they look, but James Lyng High School in Montreal's Saint-Henri neighbourhood is changing that.

Tired of their school uniform, a group of teenagers got together to design new ones.

Wade Cain, 16, said the old black T-shirts with the small lion logo were boring.

"I don't like it, personally. It's basic. It looks like a gym shirt to me, honestly."

So when the teacher of his entrepreneurship class asked what project the students would like to take on, Cain didn't have to think about it too long.

"I brought up school uniforms very quickly because I didn't like them," he said.

Cain and his Grade 9 classmates decided to shake things up.
Students Wade Cain and Sarha Grabowski pour ink to create a new logo for the uniform. (CBC)

Whole school community voted

They called on some local artists to help redesign the logo, and after coming up with six designs they liked, they had students, staff and parents vote on their favourite.

A pink hoodie proved to be popular with the students but didn't win over the adults' votes.

Another design included a black varsity jacket with the letters JL on it. That one was approved.
Starting in September, students will be able to wear the new varsity jacket. (CBC)

Another winning design is a black sweater with a white logo of a lion wearing a crown and the name of the school written in cursive letters.

"This one has a different Iion on it than the current one — it actually shows his face.... Why the crown? Because lions are kings of the jungle," Cain said.

Student Sarha Grabowski was involved in pitching the new outfits to the school's governing board.

She said she's happy with how things turned out.

"It shows that we put a lot of effort in the design," she said. "It feels good on the inside knowing when I graduate that I'll be seeing younger kids wear something that I designed, and I hope they'll like it."

Their entrepreneurship teacher, Nathan Gage, said his students should be proud.
Student Sarha Grabowski says the old uniform, which was a black T-shirt with a logo of the school's mascot, a lion, is boring. (CBC)

"They wanted to have a design that they felt represented them," he said. "[With] these kinds of projects, I see a huge difference in how they relate to their schoolwork."

"They're going to see a lasting effect of their work."

The new uniforms will be ready for all James Lyng students to wear in September.

With files from Jay Turnbull and CBC Montreal's Daybreak


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