How My 5th Grade Class Made History

Did you know, while in 5th grade, Brandon Griffin and his classmates made history?

Gary, Indiana was established in 1906, but the city never had a flag before the current design was adopted in December, 1999.

The flag came about through a contest open to all Gary residents. From the over 500 entries, a panel of judges selected the top six entries. Then residents were invited to vote for their preferred design through ballots printed in the local newspapers. The winners whose designs were selected were then invited to collaborate on the final design. This group included students from across the City of Gary, including Brandon Griffin’s 5th grade class.

The resulting flag nods to the city’s past as well as pointing to its future.

Two vertical blue bars, indented slightly from the hoist and fly, appear on a white field on either side of the city’s logo. The bars closest to the logo are light blue, and the outer bars are darker blue. The light blue acknowledges Gary’s location on Lake Michigan. The dark blue represents the blue in Indiana’s state flag. Ben Clement, Gary’s Director of Economic Development, says that the four bars together represent the delicate balance of the three branches of government and the Fourth Estate, which is the people and their media watchdog. On the white background is a white ring bordered in black. The words “City of Gary,” above, and the date “1906,” below, appear in black. Within the ring is a sunrise which indicates Gary’s rebirth and the bright future the city looks toward.

Superimposed against the sun is the domed silhouette of City Hall, which represents the role of government in the future. On the viewer’s left are factories to represent the industries which helped build the city. To the viewer’s right is a school to represent Gary’s educational system and the role it plays in the past and future. Gary’s role as a transportation center is represented by the airplane, seen in gray above the school. The circle is divided in half horizontally, and all this is mirrored below in the waters of Lake Michigan.

Superimposed on the center is a multi-cultural handshake to represent Gary’s diversity and the cooperation required to rebuild the city. Below the seal is a blue ribbon in both shades of blue, dark above and light below, on which appears the word “Indiana” in white.

Source: CRW Flags


About Brandon L. Griffin
Brandon L. Griffin is a digital native, Millennial, and success coach for Gen Z students. In Growing Up Boss – Lessons Learned as a Young Entrepreneur, Brandon recounts lessons from his 20 year entrepreneurial career path and offers steps young adults can take to get a head start on their career. To learn more visit:

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