A 14-year-old artist with an eye for sports uniforms and flags, Owen Modracek wanted an answer to a question so he figured out a sure-fire way to get it: He drew up his own answer and presented it to his town.
“I wanted to see if there was a flag of Rochester,” he said. “I only saw a flag that ended up being the flag of Rochester, but I didn’t know that at the time so I decided to make a flag of Rochester in my free time.”
So off to work he went with drafting pencils, colored pencils, and rulers, and made his refinements online (see image) before sending his design to town offices.
In her Town Administrator’s Report to the Board of Selectmen during its July 8 meeting, Suzanne Szyndlar commended Modracek for his design and effort. The selectmen suggested it would be appropriate to look into the history of the town flag.
On Tuesday, Connie Eshbach and Susan LaFleur, members of both the town’s Historical Commission and the Rochester Historical Society, looked at records dating back to the 1960s but without finding any reference to the flag. LaFleur said research will continue in an effort to unearth this piece of town history.
Modracek’s design took an existing seal that is believed to be the product of a decades-old community contest. He accented the seal on either side with facing deer and strategically chose background colors to reflect on some of Rochester’s identifying characteristics.
“The forest surrounds Rochester, and there’s blue – we have a lot of ponds in Rochester – I also wanted the yellow because the yellow represents the cornfields and all the farms,” he said, explaining that the red color is actually cranberry for the bogs around town. “Blue, green, and cranberry are state colors as well so I wanted to incorporate that.”
A rising ninth-grader soon to change school buildings, Modracek has even tinkered with Old Rochester’s sports uniforms.
“I think the football jerseys are nice. I don’t think they should change their logo because their logo is really nice, but their soccer jerseys could use a little help,” he said.
Owen plans to join his brother Matthew, a rising junior, in the ORR boys soccer program this year. Matthew was a junior-varsity player last fall.
Owen’s art tends to confine itself to soccer uniforms, international and MLS, and also college basketball. His media rarely strays from colored pencils, but his younger sister Elise likes to paint. The parents are supportive of his art and, according to Owen, suggested he make town officials aware of his redesign of the Rochester flag.
“They’ve always liked everything I do,” said Owen. “They know it’s just a hobby. I don’t want to pursue a job in art. I think I’m probably going to pursue something in biological science or architecture, something in that ballpark.”
By Mick Colageo