When Sprint built a gi-normous new flagpole at Eugene A. Clark Elementary School for use as a cell-phone tower in March, it forgot to supersize one thing: the flag itself. Atop its new pole, which is about 3 feet in diameter at the base and 100 feet tall, Clark is still flying a puny, 3-foot-tall Old Glory. The effect is akin to a postage stamp fluttering off of a car antenna.
The pole “looks huge,” says Micah Schonberg, a third-grade teacher at the school. “Like the Washington Monument or something.” The Petworth school received a one-time-only signing bonus of about $5,000 when the D.C. Public Schools inked the deal with Sprint on April 19 of last year, says schools spokesperson Roxanne Evans.
The school system, which has been leasing school property to telecommunications companies since 1995, receives $27,600 annually for the use of the Clark flagpole. Evans says that the flags are likely provided by Sprint; a company spokesperson says schools provide their own flag. According to the American Legion, a pole of that size should fly a flag at least 25 feet in length.
Barbara McElwain, Clark’s principal, says it only makes sense to match the giant pole with a giant flag. “I would imagine that they should have if they were going to put [the big pole] out there,” she says.