Monongalia County has its first flag ever–and a high school student won the design competition.
Morgantown High School student Andrew Riley likes flags. So when his graphic design teacher presented the Monongalia County Commission’s flag competition to his class early in the school year, he decided to enter.
The competition challenged local artists to design a flag to represent Monongalia County. Participants were asked to include the county seal and the year 1776, the year the county was formed, in their designs, while using up to three colors.
After about three hours of work, Riley’s design features thick blue bars across the top and bottom of the flag that he chose to symbolize a sky. Yellow inclines emerging from the bars represent the mountains of Monongalia County. The inclines meet in the middle at the county seal and the number 1776, and graceful blue lines emanating left and right from the seal represent the Monongahela and Cheat rivers. “I wanted to design something that encompasses the entirety of Monongalia County, and the natural beauty is something I wanted to hit on,” Riley says.
In October, the commission chose Riley’s design out of 85 entries for its simplicity and its symbolic representation of the county. “What enticed us to choose his flag was not the design of the flag, but what every aspect meant,” says Monongalia County Commissioner Tom Bloom. “I thought it really captured Monongalia County.” The new flag will fly over the renovated Monongalia County Courthouse Square on High Street, under construction now, well in advance of the county’s sestercentennial, or 250th anniversary, in 2026.
After graduating, Riley plans to go to college to study exercise physiology. While he will always have a love for graphic design, he wants to keep it as a hobby.
written by KRISTEN UPPERCUE