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Limestone students hope to boost community spirit with new town flag

LIMESTONE, Maine — When a group of seventh-graders in Limestone realized that their town has never had its own flag, they quickly sprang into action, searching for a design that could represent the Aroostook town’s past and future.

Thanks to those students at Limestone Community School, residents have a hometown-designed flag to wave alongside those that represent their state and country.

The yearlong project started when Hogan Marquis, a middle school teacher new to Limestone, created a Community Work elective class. One year earlier, Marquis had helped students at Leonard Middle School in Old Town create a flag for the city, inspiring other towns across Maine. He hoped that his Limestone students could replicate that success.

Early in the school year, Marquis’ students visited the classrooms at LCS, where they encouraged students of all ages to create and then revise their own flag designs. Marquis’ group then met with a flag design expert, conducted community surveys and became part of a town flag committee that included town officials, school board members and the Limestone Chamber of Commerce.

“It was an amazing experience,” said seventh-grader Abigale Cuthbertson. “We went to every classroom and learned what students thought would represent the town. It’s important that we have a flag to represent us.”

Those classroom visits led to the winning flag design by sixth-grader Owen Poitras, which community members chose based on the students’ top two designs. With feedback from Marquis and students, Poitras created a three-color design of brown in the middle, golden stripes on either side of the brown and dark green opposite each stripe.

“The green is all the plants and trees, the brown is agriculture and the gold is sunshine,” Poitras said.

Limestone Community School students showcase the town’s new flag during the Fourth of July parade. (Melissa Lizotte | Aroostook Republican)

Marquis said that Poitras’ unique and simple “Fields and Forest” design helped persuade voters that his flag best represents Limestone’s agricultural heritage, natural environment and the sunlight that keeps nature abundant.

“We couldn’t find any flag in the world that looks like that. Brown is an unusual color for flags but that makes our town’s flag unique,” Marquis said. “Owen’s design was so clear and simple and people responded to that.”

After Marquis’ students conducted the community vote and presented the winning design to the Limestone Selectboard this spring, the town’s officials voted unanimously to make Poitras’ design the official town flag.

The students are working with the Bangor-based World of Flags USA to sell the new flags to Limestone residents. This past week, they showcased the flag during the town’s Fourth of July parade and are excited to see more community members flying their flags around town.

“Limestone is a great town and it deserves a great flag,” Poitras said.

Marquis said that involving students in the flag design will not only bolster community pride, but also help his students feel forever connected to their hometown.

“Someday when they’re older they can point to the flag and tell their kids and grandkids that they helped create it,” Marquis said. “It’s going to become part of the fabric of the community.”

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