There is a very special high school, the Lycée de Villaroy in Guyancourt, in the Paris area.
Its original architecture in the shape of a comet carries a strong symbolism and wants to be an invitation to discover knowledge, as learning is opening the future and new horizons and has to be pursued throughout life, just as the comet pursues imperturbably its way into space.
The internal structure of this “lycée of light” reflects this will by alternating study areas and open spaces on the nature so as to encourage exchange and conviviality. The circular corridors, narrow at the entrance, gradually widen as students progress through learning and knowledge.
In order to celebrate the school’s “twenty years of talents”, the principal, Mrs. Catherine Mary, held a great commemoration on December 14 th involving local personalities and former teachers and alumni, who came numerous happy to meet again.
Mrs. Mary emphasized the contribution of Jean-Marc Philippe, “a multitechnicien artist”, who, in close symbiosis with the architects, is at the origin of the idea of the comet and its symbolism.
Jean-Marc Philippe created in the school lobby an annual clock of elliptical shape where every day a new little red light turns on.. This annual rhythm marks the progress of the school year as well as the revolution of the earth around the sun.
He also designed the lighting of the school façade which emphasizes its shape of a comet. The external beam of light, blue at night, adapts its daily rhythm to the school life, with slow pulsations in periods of school inactivity or of concentration during classes, and faster and sustained pulsations for lively moments of the day, such as going to class, breaks or outings.
In a short retrospective of past years, Mrs.Mary, emphasized how the spirit that guided the design of this high school has influenced the teachers who succeeded in maintaining and implementing this idea of open- mindedness, personal development and growth of students. This gives them self-confidence to unleash their talents in whatever field.
Speaking of Jean-Marc Philippe, Mrs. Mary briefly presented the KEO project and read for participants some extracts from the letter that the president of PROGRAMME KEO, Patrick Tejedor, sent her to be part of this commemoration.
“ On behalf of the KEO team, I wish a happy anniversary to your lycée for its 20 years.
Twenty years, it is a lot for a high school, it is a lot for a lifetime: a child within twenty years makes the transition from newborn to adulthood, becoming responsible, decision-maker of his own life, after years of training and education that gave him both the knowledge of things and the discovery of human values.
KEO is intended to give a glance beyond the years of our lives by urging us to think about our distant descendants of the future centuries.
As well as the drawings of Lascaux cave, realized nearly 20.000 years ago, tell us how men of that time were living, KEO allows us to make a connection between our present world and the future world when the satellite KEO returns to earth after a long stay in space.
The messages carried on board will give our descendants testimony of life today.
Messages will come from all earthlings. KEO does not create competition against each other.
KEO connects all those who now are sharing their lives on the same planet and have questions about the future of this world…….”
It should be noted the close correlation with the motto of the school. “To teach, educate, train young pupils and students to travel with them to the world of tomorrow. ”
Mrs. Mary invited all those present to write a message to their distant descendants. For this purpose a ballot box for receiving these messages was placed in the lobby below the ellipse spiral clock.
The meeting was followed by a site visit and the presentation by the students of their achievements in all technical or artistic fields. We have to praise their creativity and the joy of living which emanated from their accomplishments.
PROGRAMME KEO expresses its congratulations and thanks to the principal of the Lycée de Villaroy, Mrs.Mary, for so successfully having preserved the work and especially the spirit of Jean-Marc Philippe throughout these years.