Students create human banner to celebrate centennial anniversary

Draped in blazing colors of orange and red to match the Golden Gate Bridge behind them, a crowd of more than 200 people formed a human sign reading “100!” at Crissy Park Saturday in celebration of the National Park Service’s centennial anniversary. The group cheered with their hands held high as a helicopter photographer snapped photographs of them below.

The National Park Service is an agency that was founded in 1916, according to their website. The service has been in charge of creating and maintaining various parks and recreational activities around the country.

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SF State student Taylor Scaletti was one of the many supporters who joined the festivities. The 21-year-old is a hospitality for event management major and said the event was originally a class assignment. Scaletti said that she and fellow students were thrilled to be a part of history and showcase their concerted effort to cultivate the student-run project.

“I am really excited; we invited everyone in the community,” Scaletti said. “We are working with a zero-dollar budget, but we found help. We made our own website and have been passing out flyers with the help of friends and family.”

The head organizer of the event, Brad Newsham, has been a human banner specialist since 2006. Newsham called himself a “one-trick-pony kind of guy” and said he always has his measuring tape and bullhorn in tow.

“It’s such a satisfying feeling,” Newsham said. “You leave saying, ‘Wow. Look what I got to be a part of.’ To see the photos that live on is truly mind blowing. I’m glad I was a part of it.”

Newsham said he has organized more than 10 human banner events, one of which was the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge in 2012.

Recreation and parks administration major Julia Mendoza, 21, helped create the website and organize the crowd. Mendoza said she and her classmates worked tirelessly to make their vision of capturing the “100!” formation a reality.

“This is the biggest event I have helped put on as a student,” Mendoza said. “It’s really exciting to know that this is going to be a photo that will be placed all over the National Park (Service) website. People were really open and excited to participate in it, especially because they get a copy of the photo. This will go down in history.”

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