New John Harris flag gives students waves of inspiration

Positively KELOLAND

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – A new flag at John Harris Elementary School is inspiring students to come together after a tough year.

If you ask 5th grader Karina Stefanyuk, she says every flag in the John Harris multi-purpose room gives every student something to look up to.

“They just give people more hope in themselves to accomplish things,” Stefanyuk said.

Every year, since 1991, the fifth graders have been asked to design a flag based on the current year’s theme.

“This flag is something that the fifth graders look forward to. It is something that – fifth graders have that opportunity to leave their legacy here at John Harris,” 5th Grade Teacher Rebecca Roberts said.

Now things are looking up for Stefanyuk as her flag is joining that lineage.

Stefanyuk’s flag sewn by Shirly Stevens. Courtesy: Sioux Falls School District

“If you try hard you can achieve something, and if you keep practicing you can get better and better at it,” Stefanyuk said.

Hers was voted on by teachers and members of the Parent Teacher Organization. They revealed her finished flag on Facebook live and broadcast it to all the fifth-graders. The theme of the flag is that their potential and possibilities are endless.

“It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter what skin color you are. It doesn’t matter what race you are… if you’re someone, then be someone,” Stefanyuk said.

A message her teacher Rebecca Roberts says is important following the year 2020.

“I think, at times where we thought everything was shutting down and there was no hope and we couldn’t do anything and, now, it’s like, ‘Yeah. Anything. Anything is possible. We can survive this, we can do anything,” Roberts said.

Stefanyuk’s flag will now be displayed permanently for future generations to look up to.

“They see those flags and it really does give a lot of inspiration and hope to these kids. It’s the world through their eyes,” Roberts said.

During the ceremony, the finished flag was presented by Shirly Stevens. The woman who has been sewing them for over 20 years.

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