Evan Botzki and Harrison McCreight are two high school friends with a passion for flags and government…. and have combined the two by creating a new flag for their home city of Euclid, Ohio! Despite being high school seniors, the pair designed the flag and went to the local council with their proposal. The flag became the official city flag as of October 17th 2018! You can check out the legislation for the adoption here!
To find out more about this story, we spoke to one of the creators – Evan Botzki!
First of all Evan, could you tell us a little bit about Euclid?
Euclid is a neighboring city of Cleveland, consisting of around 50,000 people. We are one of few cities with the ability to say that we have Lake Erie in our backyard!
What’s the story behind the old flag? Was it flown much around the city?
The old official flag of Euclid was passed in 1954 thanks to the American Legion. Though I must admit that I did not see it much around town, only noticing it in City Hall and our Historical Museum. Rather, an unofficial flag with the city’s seal was flown more commonly.
What made you decide to get involved and try to change the flag?
Around the tail end of my eighth grade year, I started becoming interested in flags. This interest led to me falling in love with flags of cities like Amsterdam, Washington D.C., and Chicago. With my interest in flags growing, my disappointment in my city’s flag began to grow. Starting in the summer after my 10th grade year, along with my friend Harrison, we finally started our mission to give our city a symbol to have pride in.
How did you decide to make the flag non-rectangular?
Before we could get the flag changed, we had to figure out what we wanted to replace it with. We designed quite a few flags; some were rectangular, some were pennants similar to Ohio’s state flag, and some were in the Tri-Pennant. In terms of the Tri-Pennant design, we were initially inspired by two main flags; the Ohio Flag, and, oddly enough, the flag of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Given that the flag of Ohio is the only state flag not in the shape of a rectangle, and so we wanted to pay homage to that. Now, I should explain the inspiration from the PLC: Harrison and I were looking at historical flags for inspiration, when we noticed the Tri-Pennant pattern. We really liked that pattern as it allowed us to still pay homage to our state, but remained unique for the city. Rather than placing lettering on the flag, we were able to use the Tri-Pennant to form an “E” at the end of the flag.
Did you follow NAVA’s “5 Basic Principles” when designing your flag?
In creating the flag, Harrison and I did try our best to stick with the “5 basic principles”. We found it very important to create a strong symbol for Euclid, while at the same time remaining simple and memorable.
In terms of symolism, the blue represents Lake Eerie and Euclid Creek. The white is for the city’s openness to change, while the gold represents the bright future of Euclid. Finally, the star represents the city and its inhabitants.
How did you find interacting with the city?
I personally found it quite enjoyable to interact with the citizenry of Euclid. Everyone we interacted with was really kind and supportive of our venture. As for the city government, I am extremely grateful for their support and for giving us the time of day. In particular, I would like to thank the Mayor for encouraging us every step of the way.
What did you think of the design process overall? Would you recommend it to others considering doing it?
The main thing I learned from this experience is that patience and persistence are the two main keys in achieving any goal. The process was longer than I had initially anticipated, but in the end it was worth it thanks to everything I learned throughout. So to anyone else who wishes to get their city flag changed, I would like to encourage you to stay positive and never get discouraged.
Finally, what is next for you? Would you like to try redesigning more city flags now?
While I currently do not have any new flag initiatives in the works, I would be greatly humbled if I was able to participate in this process once more. In a few months, I will be heading off to University. During and after my time there, it is my hope that I will be able to productively contribute to my community. It is my dream to one day be fortunate enough to be able to run for public office.
A little more about Harrison and Evan...
Evan Botzki And Harrison McCreight are two high school seniors who are highly involved in their communities. Both young men interned with the state’s Democratic Party during the 2018 midterm elections, and have worked with the city to create informational videos about Euclid. In June 2018, both boys attended the American Legion Buckeye Boys State. While there, McCreight served as the Director of the Development Services Agency. Meanwhile, Botzki dually served as his City’s School Treasurer and Superintendent. For their efforts, both boys earned the Outstanding Citizen Award. At Euclid High School, Botzki serves as President of the National Honor Society and has organized numerous events for the group to volunteer in. At Villa Angela Saint Joseph High School, McCreight serves as the Student Council President and has organized numerous events and activities for the student body.
A huge thanks to Evan for chatting to us and giving us some more details about this great story! He and Harrison did a great job designing this flag, we wish them both the best of luck for the future! We leave you with some parting words from the flag co-designer Harrison:
“It was an honor working with Evan on this flag. He’s the closest thing I could call a political activist partner. I will surely miss him when he leaves for college. The flag of Euclid is one of the best things I have ever worked on in my life, and hopefully the beginning of a fruitful political career as I work in local politics in my home town. I hope that what we have done will inspire more minds to work with their local municipalities and create more well designed flags all around the world.”
We would love to hear what you think about the new flag of Euclid! Get in touch via our social media, you can find them below!