A short two years ago, Max DeCook, 17, had no idea what he would be doing now. After a rough time laced with drugs and bad decisions, he knew, and everyone around him knew, he was headed down a the wrong road. That is, until a family trip to Ghana changed his life.
He went with his friend Stephen Aboagye, who is now his business partner and co-founder of Eternal Water, a company dedicated to providing clean water to the people of Ghana. And as a new company set to begin operations in May, Eternal Water has been searching for a company logo.
“I wanted something to stand out, that no one would ever have and catches the eye,” said DeCook, a Braselton Christian Academy graduate who also briefly attended Riverside Military Academy.
DeCook’s mother, Andrea, decided to ask her friend, a local teacher and graphic artist, Diana Lunt, to design the logo. But as a first-year career and technology teacher at West Hall High and a freelance graphic artist, Lunt couldn’t find the time. So she gave the task to her students as a competition.
On Friday, March 30, DeCook announced Andres Herrera, a 10th-grader at West Hall, had won the contest.
“It feels crazy,” said Herrera, who is taking his first-ever design class. “Nothing like this has happened before. It’s my first time, so it’s pretty big. I just set myself to it and a lot of people have told me a lot of things to make me do my best.”
The logo is made up of a green “E” and a blue “W,” configured in a shape resembling a water droplet. The green represents making the earth a better place. The blue represents the water.
Herrera had the design he wanted in his head and as soon as he put it on paper, he knew it would work. The design just needed some tweaking. He said it came a long way from the original sketch, but after some feedback from his teacher and DeCook, it was perfect.
“I’m super happy with how they turned out,” Lunt said. “They exceeded my expectations.”
Andrea DeCook knew her son had the potential to start something like Eternal Water. After desperately trying to change his ways, the opportunity to visit Ghana with Aboagye, a citizen of Ghana, came up.
Although the experience he had in Ghana didn’t immediately make a difference in his life and the decisions he was making, Max DeCook fell in love with the people there and now calls them his family.
A short time after the trip, DeCook decided he wanted to change his own life and try to make a difference for others by creating the nonprofit business from the ground up.
Now, with a logo in hand, DeCook and Eternal Water can continue doing their work of trying to give the people of Ghana better access to clean water.
DeCook moved to Ghana in January and secured property that will house Eternal Water’s operations. He said the first floor of the building should be finished in May and will have two water wells and all the equipment that goes along with it. He hopes the second floor is done in June. That’s where he and Aboagye will be housed.
Eternal Water has already lined up 15 locations to sell their water in Ghana.
“We want to move it all across Ghana and hopefully outside of Ghana,” DeCook said. “That’s what we’re trying for, and hoping for, and one day we hope to see that come to life.”