Classroom Connections for Georgia Studies: 2020 Georgia Day Parade Banner Competition

During the Georgia Day Parade City Hall Program, Garden City Elementary students accept the 1st place trophy in the Elementary Banner Competition!

Each year the Georgia Historical Society (GHS) invites students, teachers, volunteers, musicians, local dignitaries, and costumed historical figures to march through Savannah’s historic squares for the Georgia Day Parade. As part of an annual commemoration that dates back to the founding of the Georgia colony on February 12, 1733, the beloved event is part of the Georgia Historical Society’s Georgia History Festival (GHF).

To provide unique and engaging learning experiences for students through the Georgia Day Parade, GHS invites elementary and middle schools to participate in the banner competition. The parade and banner competition offer students a chance to learn about Georgia’s past and express what they have learned in creative ways.

For more than 20 years, students have been designing banners based on an annual theme and marched behind their banners during the parade. Banners that are submitted for the competition are judged based on a set of guidelines and adherence to the theme.

This year GHS received over 25 banner submissions from schools across the coastal region. Only a few banners receive awards and recognition on parade day, yet every year the competition inspires excellent examples of originality, dedication, and creativity. In order to recognize more fantastic banner submissions, several examples are highlighted in this post giving insight into what makes a winning parade banner.

To provide feedback to those teachers who have participated in the banner competition and highlight the creativity of a variety of participants and their banners, here are some insights and tips for participation in the banner competition:

  1. You don’t have to be in Savannah or even march in the parade to submit a banner! Banners can be submitted online and offer students across the state an opportunity to participate in Georgia Day.
  2. GHS looks for examples of active-student learning in the creation of banners. The best banner submissions are those that illustrate student learning through artwork, writing, or other creative means. There should be evidence that students created the content of each banner.
  3. Stick to the theme, but be creative! Banner submissions are unique each year because the theme changes annually. GHS would like to see student interpretation of the theme through the creation of their banner. Banner themes are meant to help teach major themes and topics from Georgia history. The more creative the better!
  4. Let GHS help you! GHS offers free, online primary-source teaching resources to help teach the annual theme to students. GHS offers in-school programming to support the creation of banners, and GHS staff would be happy to answer questions or provide feedback regarding the annual theme. Visit to find online resources.

The Banner Competition theme for the Georgia Day Parade 2020 was “Finding My Voice.” In keeping with the Georgia History Festival (GHF) theme, “Women’s Suffrage at 100: The Nineteenth Amendment and Georgia History,” this year’s banner competition was meant to challenge students to explore the process of developing points of view, exercising civic rights, and examining the legacy of the suffrage movement by looking at its impact on civil rights movements throughout the 20th century.

Hancock Day School illustrates the “Finding My Voice” theme through highlighting Georgia’s suffragists and what they worked to achieve.
May Howard Elementary School interpreted the theme “Finding My Voice” through individual student work and expression.
An up close look at May Howard Elementary School’s banner with representing individual voices.
Virginia Heard Elementary, a STEM certified school in Chatham County, illustrated how it blends technology with social studies through creating a timeline of the women’s suffrage movement and student reenactment of various suffrage-related events.
An up close look at Virginia Heard Elementary School’s banner featuring a timeline.
Hesse Elementary School students used 3D objects to bring their banner to life!
Southwest Elementary School creatively illustrated Georgia citizens voting (with “I Voted” stickers) while suffragists and voting rights activists of the past support them in the background.
Savannah Country Day School was inspired by primary sources to create its banner.
An up close look at Savannah Country Day School’s banner featuring student learning via primary sources.