Grade 12 student Mara Gagiu created the design for MGCI's 2014-2015 school sweater. Photo: Jackie Ho

Grade 12 student Mara Gagiu created the design for MGCI’s 2014-2015 school sweater. Photo: Jackie Ho

On 23 October 2014, the apparel design challenge for Student Council was opened to the student body.

Students submitted designs to be featured on the school apparel that will be sold this year. Submissions were required to fulfill certain criteria, the primary one being that the text on the design must include “MGCI” and “2014-15”, as well as a representation of the school, such as a logo.  The design was due on 26 October 2014.

An additional restriction imposed upon the submissions, although not explicitly stated, was originality.

This was the second time the contest was run; it was open a month earlier under the same rules. The contest was reopened after the submissions for the first contest were reviewed, and many were found to be copied from other sources. In their review, SAC members performed image searches and was found that numerous entries were identical to or heavily influenced by pre-existing online designs. None of the designs which featured images copied from the Internet or which were heavily based on Internet material were sourced, making them plagiarized work. As a result, many submissions were ineligible for consideration.

SAC decided to open the second contest to all students, including those who had submitted plagiarized work for the first contest. SAC’s staff adviser, Mr. Alexander, explained that this decision was made in order “to address and take a stand against ‘influenced’ material but not in a way that was punitive on those that may not have thought too much about what they were submitting.”

The second run of the contest proved unsuccessful as well.  Many submissions were not original work; as a result the contest was scrapped.

A contestant who prefers to remain anonymous said, “I’m quite saddened that plagiarism occurred in the contest and I’m relieved that SAC did something about it. Plagiarism isn’t fair for the other contestants, such as me, that had to actually design and illustrate an actual logo only to find that it couldn’t compare to the professional but plagiarized designs.”

In place of holding another school-wide design competition, SAC members created sweater designs and voted on them themselves. Ashifa Hudani, SAC’s External Affairs Officer, said: “Thank you for all that applied, but we received many designs that were heavily influenced by pre-existing designs, therefore we decided to create our own design to show the uniqueness and spirit of MGCI.”

Several designs were submitted, and the final design that will be used for this year’s sweaters was one created by Spirit Convenor Mara Gagiu.

Sweater sales will begin on 24 November, 2014, with an early bird price of $30 for the first 30 students, and a regular price of $32.