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TBT: Zheng Accepts Millan’s Challenge, Designs Harrison’s 175th Anniversary Seal

Apr 14, 2022
Anselmo Millan with Karen Zheng Town of Harrison Seal

Throw Back Thursday: In 2015, Lamp post banners went up across the Town of Harrison announcing the town's 175th Anniversary.  The Lamp post banners contained the 175th Anniversary Harrison Town Seal which was designed by Jia Wen (Karen) Zheng, the 2015 Harrison High School Valedictorian.  Zheng was asked whether she could draw the seal by Councilman Anselmo Millan who is also the President of the Harrison Fest Committee that headed up the effort to organize, plan and run the events surrounding Harrison’s 175th Anniversary.

As Zheng will freely admit, she felt ill-equipped at first to tackle the task but soon realized that with a little research and input from Councilman Millan that she could incorporate Harrison's past and its bright future into a new town seal.  Thus, the 175th Anniversary Town of Harrison Seal was sketched and subsequently incorporated into the Lamp post banners then finally making it into the Town's official 175th Anniversary flag.

Zheng’s accomplishment, the design of the Town of Harrison’s new seal replacing the prior “Beehive of Industry” seal but reflecting the promise of a future Harrison, was historic.   Local newspaper The Observer ran a story entitled “Zheng accepts Millan’s challenge, designs Harrison’s 175th-anniversary logo”

Zheng after graduating from Harrison High School went on to Boston College and was featured in an article. In the article, Karen Zheng credited then-Councilman Anselmo Millan with encouraging her and giving her the opportunity to create the town’s seal on her own.  Councilman Millan gave her full control in the design process, telling her to incorporate Harrison’s “beehive of industry” past with its future.

Zheng stated, “He [Millan] kept telling me it was my seal and to do what I wanted,” says Zheng, after a 175th Anniversary event in Harrison Town Hall honoring her for her design, which will remain the official seal for the next 25 years. “I didn’t feel like it was just my seal; I wanted everyone to like it.”

Quoting from the article, “People don’t ask unless they believe in you and see the potential.  Anything challenging is a great way to learn and prove to others that there’s something in you,” says Zheng, a student in Options Through Education (OTE), an enrichment program for financially disadvantaged students at Boston College 

OTE Director Ines Maturana Sendoya is not surprised at Zheng’s achievement.  “Karen looks at a challenge and takes it right on,” she said. “We look for that in our OTE students, and Karen really exemplifies it.”

Zheng, like other OTE participants, has “done a lot with limited resources,” added Sendoya, but also embodies what Boston College looks for in all its students.  “When we tell our students to go set the world aflame, this is an excellent example of doing that – doing something bigger than yourself,” she said.

The Seal was incorporated into the 175th Anniversary Flag that now adorns the Town of Harrison Council Chambers.  The flag is right behind the Mayor's Chair in the Harrison Council Chambers.  Take a look the next time you go to Town Hall.