New senior class banner upsets some, satisfies others


Rachel Chen, Staff Writer

By the end of the month, the new senior banner will be put up in the cafeteria as a result of Senior Class President Binna Kim’s senior class project for Student Congress. For the past few years, one of the main responsibilities of the senior class president has been to apply for a $500 grant from the Meadows Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to help Texans improve the quality of life for themselves and future generations.

This year, Kim used the money to help print a banner of the student section from one of this year’s football games to expand school spirit. The idea was approved by Glenn Davis, the associate principal for facilities and student relations, and Kim began working on the project towards the end of football season. The grant money had to be used by April 1.

“I knew we had a banner already in the cafeteria and our student section at the football games was really awesome this year,” Kim said. “That’s what a lot of the seniors really remember about our senior year, so that’s what I wanted to capture.”

After working with Fast Signs, the company making the banner, and school administration, the banner’s design was finalized. On May 2, Kim posted a photo of the finished banner onto Instagram. The banner features the Mamacitas, a group of female students including Kim, who were chosen to cheer in the student section at every football game this year. Initially, Kim posted tweets regarding the photo options to see what people were interested in, but the picture of the Mamacitas was ultimately decided on. Senior Dylan Betts thought other pictures would have portrayed the senior class better.

“There were a few pictures that were better, like the one from the Allen game, the one from the West game, the one from the East game and the one from the East basketball game,” Betts said. “I think those all would have been better pictures because they were a lot bigger. They showed way more people and it got pretty much everyone in our student section that was at the game, instead of seven or eight people.”

However, prior to making the final decision, Kim contacted multiple photographers in order to have the widest possible variety of photos to choose from. In order for an image to be blown up to the banner’s proportions, it had to meet certain size requirements, which Kim said cut out many options. The photo chosen had to be school-appropriate and could not show phrases aimed within the picture specifically at any other school. As a result, Kim said only about six images qualified, which she took to the administration for approval.

“They chose that one, they said, because the one that’s already up right now is a large-span picture of the student section and they didn’t want to go with the same image or it would have the same impact,” Kim said. “They were thinking maybe a picture from a basketball game, or if seniors could take the time to take a panoramic and spell out something – but seeing as it was so close to the end of the year, that wouldn’t work. What I was planning to do was get as many images I could, get them approved and have a voting in the cafeteria. But the deadline for the project was April 1, so there wasn’t enough time to have a vote. The administrators ended up choosing.”

Several students expressed disapproval of the finished banner on Twitter, including Betts, and some posted photos tagged “BetterSeniorBannersThanOurs.”

“I feel like the banner was a poor call because instead of including the entire senior class, or highlighting it as a group, it portrayed one small group of people and I don’t think it was fair to all the other students who were in the senior class,” Betts said. “I kind of feel like she just wanted a picture of her and her friends hanging up in the cafeteria.”

Kim argued that this was not her intention and did not expect backlash.

“It kind of blindsided me,” Kim said. “I understand why it would cause backlash, because it definitely dominantly put just the eight girls on the front and I’m included in it, so I’m sure people were thinking I chose it so I could be on it.”

Part of the original picture chosen by administration included someone holding a poster with senior Richard Lagow’s name on it, but due to size restrictions, that person was cut out.

“When I saw the final picture, I kind of knew people were going to be upset because it doesn’t show the whole student section and a lot of people came to our games to support us,” Lagow said. “So a lot of people weren’t in it that were hoping to be in it. It’s just the Mamacitas. People are saying it doesn’t represent our senior class, it’s just eight girls, but they were the front of our student section. The senior class could’ve been represented better, but still, it works.”

Though he acknowledges the controversy over the banner, Lagow was not upset about the final product or his name being cropped out of the picture.

“I know that she did the best that she could, and she worked hard on it,” Lagow said. “I’m just appreciative that the banner got to go up and represent the class. I understand if people are upset with it because there might have been a better picture to use or just small things that could be different, but they shouldn’t be rude to Binna or anybody about it because everybody had to work really hard to get it put up. It’s still a big deal to have it hung up to represent our class. They should just keep it down a little bit and keep their comments to themselves unless it’s being nice to Binna.”

Kim said she likes the picture because it was from the West game earlier this year and she felt that it was a fun game that many people attended. However, she also said she understood why people were upset by the project’s result.

“A lot of seniors did work hard all year and I’m sure they want to have something that they leave at Plano also,” Kim said. “I was kind of torn, because I definitely understood why they kind of felt like they were robbed of something. But on the other hand, there are just so many things that go into it that people don’t realize. A lot of people were definitely supportive, though, and just kept aware of the bigger picture. If anything, I just wanted to apologize if people were offended by what happened.”