In January of 1927, the Alaska Department of the American Legion sponsored a territorial contest for Alaska students in grades 7 through 12. The goal was to design a flag for the future state. The winner was a seventh grade Aleut student, John Bell (Benny) Benson from Chignik. He chose a blue field to represent the Alaska sky and the forget-me-not. He then placed 8 gold stars on this background to represent the Big Dipper and the North Star. The 7 stars of the Big Dipper form part of the constellation Great Bear, symbolizing strength. The North Star is for the most northerly state of the Union. Adopted by the Alaska Territorial Legislature in May of the same year, Benny’s flag continues to grace state government and school buildings throughout the 49th state.