Home: Class of ’23 banner reflects warm feelings of ’Berg experience

“We all came to the conclusion at one of our first meetings that Heidelberg is home to us. That was our big thing.”

Home. That became the theme for the Class of '23’s banner, which was unveiled and presented to President Rob Huntington at Commencement rehearsal this morning. It’s one of Heidelberg’s most long-standing and beloved traditions.

Home. A committee of five graduating seniors – Celia DeTray, Lauren Gronsky, Reina Rhone, Shelby Sinclair and Megan Vesely – volunteered to collaborate on the creation of the class banner, which will lead their procession to Commencement on Sunday and live in perpetuity with banners dating back more than 100 years.

Home. The banner’s design went through a number of iterations, ultimately morphing into the orange Heidelberg “H,” which was added to the campus landscape during their time as students. The “H” is the most recognizable image from a distance, said Megan, who was the artist who created the final design.

Home. Filling in the “H” on a black background are words submitted by members of the senior class that are most representative of their Heidelberg experience. “Home” was the most frequently submitted and prominently displayed word; indeed, “home” was on 90% of the surveys from seniors who submitted words for the banner.

Home. There’s a special feature on the banner – a tribute to classmate Curtis Helman, who tragically lost his life in an ATV accident in March 2021, during his sophomore year. The tribute includes Curtis’s name and #49 from his football jersey. 

Home. “That was a big moment for campus. Everyone was affected in some way,” said Shelby. Megan added, “He was a friend of mine and his friends need that on the banner. That brought our class together and it shows that Heidelberg is not only home but family, that he is here with us.”

Home. The banner is full of symbolism. Lauren proposed an element – having two points at the bottom of the banner to represent the class’s continuum of a normal freshman year, interrupted by two years of COVID-19, and “getting everything back in the end” – are incorporated into the design.

Home. Megan explained the overall concept. “From far away, you see the ‘H’ and that represents the big picture. When you get closer, you see the words that make up the Heidelberg experience for us.”

Home. Many of those words center around extracurricular activities, the class’s “can-do” approach, personal connections to Heidelberg and the Tiffin community, and some hidden gems that are meaningful to the class. 

Home. “I just love the way it turned out,” Celia said. “It shows how diverse our class is.”

Home. After Megan completed the design, the committee worked with Mark Levans of MLAD Advertising and Design, a local business, to produce the banner. It was a seamless process and Mark was excited to be involved, she said.

Home. Now that the banner is finished, the women agreed that its uniqueness gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Home. Ashley Helmstetter, Assistant Vice President for Alumni Engagement and HYPE Career Ready®, advised the group. She agreed with their assessment.

Home. “No two banners are alike,” she said. “This project is one of my favorites because of the opportunity to partner with students. It’s the culmination of their four years and part of one of the best Heidelberg traditions. 

Home. “It literally is the fabric that connects them and brings them back,” Ashley said, adding that the Class of ’23 banner “truly is my favorite because it really does showcase every single student.”

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