There’s a medal with an engraved pallet for those with a talent for drawing; a badge for top of the class in geography featuring a map of the world, with the continents clearly engraved. And then there are pins to be worn by students with the best scores in maths, Italian or sport, a star to recognise good behaviour, a certificate of commitment and a badge for those who have proven their ability to socialise, perhaps with class companions of a different nationality. These colourful medals will be distributed in Italian schools participating in the “Mimerito” (I deserve) project and will be produced by a company in viale Francesco Petrarca.
The historical Picchiani & Barlacchi supported the experiment, also backed by the Ministry of Education, preparing the badge prototypes at zero cost:
“We were immediately struck by the idea of Mimerito,” explained the owners of the company, Giovanna and Chiara Montauti:
The medal system was commonly used up until the fifties, after which time the custom was lost, so we’re happy to contribute to its revival.”
The badges, attached to the aprons of children in elementary school, or on the diaries of students in middle school, will be assembled by this factory founded in 1902, a company with 15 employees committed to the hand-workmanship of metals and whose offices are still located in an historical building of the first industrial Florence, near the Oltrarno of artisans and the Institute of Art. The medal kit for industrious students begins its journey to Berlin; it was delivered by Picchiani & Barlacchi to the Italian Embassy of Berlin (during the World Money Fair), because “Mimerito” has its eyes set on Europe and a new experiment, already begun in France, as explained by the project’s inventor, Andrea Conci, a scout educator: “The experiment has enjoyed much success, and it took almost three years to get it running in Italy. I was sure it would be a success because an award system has always worked well with cub scouts and I thought it could be useful in schools as well, which are currently in the throes of an educational emergency also from a disciplinary point of view.”
Conci goes on to say:
An opinion shared by Maria Paola Invidia from the Lorenzetti school of Sociville (Siena), one of the first 18 schools to participate in the project: “We already have posters with deserving students’ names, but we still haven’t assigned any physical awards,” explains the teacher. “With the introduction of the badges, the level of enthusiasm and motivation has significantly increased. The students need to understand why one person receives the award as opposed to another, thereby encouraging them to reflect on their behaviour.”
From an article in Il Corriere Fiorentino