Last fall, Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation mandating that Michigan public school students be provided the opportunity to recite the Pledge of Allegiance each morning. The legislation also requires public schools to display the United States flag in each classroom or in another site where kids can recite the Pledge of Allegiance..
What the legislation, which takes effect later this year, did not do is offer schools money to pay for new flags.
That’s where Saline High School Allison Collins hopes to help. Collins is working toward the Girl Scout Gold Award – the highest award one can achieve in Girl Scouting. According to Collins, a Gold Award project should be something that “you really want to be remembered for.” If Collins accomplishes her project, she’ll be remembered as the young woman who equipped every classroom in the Saline Area Schools district with an American flag.
Collins is beginning a fundraising campaign to purchase flags for the school district. It’s part of a project that will also encourage local homeowners and businesses to fly the flag and that will educate people about proper flag etiquette.
It’s an important project for Collins – and not just because of the Girl Scout Gold Award and the district’s need for flags.
“Patriotism has become an important part of my life,” said Collins, who has been a member of an elite Girl Scout Troop known as the Mackinac Island Honor Guard.
Each summer, the Honor Guard raises and lowers the flags on Mackinac Island. Collins is in her seventh and final year with the guard.
“The Honor Guard has been one of the most important things in my life. It taught me everything I know about leadership, duty and responsibility,” said Collins, the daughter of Michael and Judy Collins.
She said the Honor Guard takes pride in its flag duties, and the experience buoyed her interested in the flag.
Her goal is to raise enough money to purchase 150 2-by-3-foot American flags. Collins plans to approach the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars for donations. She’ll also bring the campaign to the general public.
It’s expected that the school district will accept online donations to the Saline Area Schools Flag Fund.
Collins also plans to work with a flag manufacturer to sell flags to home owners and business owners. She’d like to arrange that a certain percentage of sales will go the district’s flag fund.
“We see parents in the district buy pizza from Domino’s on Tuesdays and 10 percent goes back to the district, so I’d like to do something like that with flags,” Collins said.
Collins also plans to engage in lessons about flag etiquette as well.
“There are a lot of specific rules about proper flag etiquette that people don’t know about. I would like to present opportunities for students, businesses and citizens to learn about flag etiquette,” Collins said.
These lessons will occur in conjunction with patriotic events, such as the Memorial Day parade.
The main goal, Collins said, is to instill a little more national pride and patriotism in the schools and the community.
“Patriotism is a great passion of mine. A lot of students don’t know a lot about our flag. If I can complete this project, it would feel great, because I think we need to revive patriotism and pride in our country,” said Collins, who plans to study engineering in college. “We have a lot to be thankful for in America.”
Anyone interested in learning more or contributing to Collins’ project can reach her 734-972-3284 or at [email protected].