Most students have their school projects hung up on the refrigerator. However, one Lancaster High School student’s project is hung up on flag poles, schools, and government buildings around the nation. In 1958, Robert G. Heft and his classmates were assigned a project to design America’s 50-star flag to incorporate Alaska and Hawaii, which were both nearing statehood. The 17- year old Heft spent 12 1/2 hours hand-stitching a new flag design with $2.87 worth of blue, red, and white cloth. He received a “B-” on the project due to “its lack of originality”. Heft’s American flag design was submitted to Congress along with over 1,500 other submissions. Later that year, Heft received a phone call from President Eisenhower letting him know his flag proposal had been accepted. Once Heft’s flag design was chosen, his history teacher changed the grade on his project to an “A”. He also has the approved design for 51 stars if another state gets admitted to the United States.
Lancaster’s Robert G. Heft, designer of the current 50-Star American Flag