An Alexander Central School eighth-grader’s design promoting agriculture and the people who work to get crops from the field to the table received the most votes in the Genesee County Flag Contest conducted by the county planning department.
Riley Wall, (photo at left), a student in Karen LaDuke’s art class, created a flag that shows a healthy ear of corn supported by two different color hands in a tapestry of blue sky and green fields.
Her entry edged out four other finalists in the children’s contest that had citizens vote on the Genesee 2050 website in March and April.
Riley, 13, said she participated in the project as a class after it was suggested by her teacher.
"I think I came up with the design just because I knew that as a county we are very toward agriculture and being part of a community. So, that's why I included a piece of corn and the diversity of it," she said.
She said it took her one or two days to complete the work, with the design in her initial thought process continuing through the finished product.
County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari said Riley’s flag is worthy in that it recognizes the value of farming, Genesee County’s No. 1 industry.
“It represents our agricultural base and symbolizes the importance of farmers, local food and also the diversity of our farming community,” he said.
The winning flag will be flown on June 14 – Flag Day – at the Genesee County Courts Facility as the county flag for a day, Oltramari said.
“We’re still finalizing plans but it looks like there will be a commendation -- with the flag flying at the Courts Facility Building -- and a ceremony outside, either before or after the legislature’s Public Service Committee meeting,” he said, adding that Riley and her family will be invited to attend.
Riley said she is looking forward to the event.
"I think this will be a really good experience for me," she said, adding that the outcome of the contest has inspired to take art more seriously. "When I was younger, I used to draw a lot. Now, I don't draw as much but I think that since I did this thing, I think I'm going to start getting more into it."
Oltramari said he is working with a flag company to make sure it is ready by June 14.
As far as the adult contest to determine the new county flag is concerned, Oltramari said he is waiting on the legislature, which is taking a close look at the five designs deemed as finalists.
Oltramari said his research indicates that all New York State counties, except for Livingston, have the county seal on their flags. He said the reason for that is because if it didn’t have the county seal, people wouldn’t be able to identify it.