HARVARD — As the empty buses pulled out of the driveway at Harvard Elementary School (HES) on a recent Wednesday morning, an old, worn-out American flag waved good-bye from above the trees. But the old flag would soon be retired.
Shortly after school started, 10-year-old William Sullebarger, with the help of an HES custodian, hoisted a brand new American flag up the pole in front of the school. On hand for the flag-raising were William’s mother, Elizabeth Sullebarger, his fifth-grade classmates, teacher Sangita Marya, and Physical Education teacher Barbi Kelly.
Relating the story behind the new flag, William said he noticed that the flag outside the school was in sorry shape, so he started a coin drive to replace it. His family pitched in, too. His father created a computer graphic for the milk-jug coin collectors his son placed around the school. “Everyone contributed,” he said.
The effort William launched in the fall wrapped up in time for Thanksgiving vacation. Over that week, students rolled pennies and counted change. Then, it was time to buy the flag.
The fundraiser netted $243 — more than enough to buy a new flag, which was purchased over the Internet from Senator Edward Kennedy’s office. The flag measures four by six feet and the material is a cotton blend. No further description is necessary. This flag was flown over the nation’s capitol in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 13, 2006, and now it flies at Harvard Elementary School. An official plaque that came with the flag hangs inside the school.
William said that he donated the left-over money from the flag campaign to a worthy cause, disaster relief for tsunami victims.