The dedication of the Senior Class banner and the banner hunt were old traditions at Centenary College. The traditions were popular in the early days of the college but had apparently disappeared by 1943, when the students brought it back.
The senior class is given a banner emblazoned with their year of graduation. The freshman class has three days in which to steal and hide the banner, and if they succeed, the senior class has three weeks in which to find it.
According to the 1943 yearbook, the banner arrived on April 14th, and the girls had a dedication ceremony that day. All the seniors wore their class jackets and sang their class song as they marched into the dining room.
The class officers carried the banner “for all to see and admire”. After dinner they tacked it on the wall in North Hall (now Reeves Hall) where it remained undisturbed for five days.
On Monday the seniors began posting guards for one hour shifts after classes and overnight. Classes were out of hours, so students were not allowed to steal the flag during those times. The yearbook recalls a “contrite thief” that stole the banner during class on Tuesday but returned it after learning that classtime was off limits. Fair play was one of the big three tenets of the college at that time so it’s no wonder that the thief returned the banner. If the freshman were going to steal the banner, they were going to do it fair and square. On Tuesday night, some ‘friendly warm words were exchanged [and] challenges were issued and accepted.” That is a really nice way of saying the students were trash-talking. Apparently it became something of a mob, more and more freshman coming to attempt to steal the banner while more seniors were called to barricade them from it. All of a sudden, the banner was gone! The freshman, “promising to take good care of it,” victoriously carried off the banner to hide it. Later in the evening they gloated by singing the freshman class song up and down North Hall. Senior banner-hunting parties were formed and the girls set out to find the banner. Wednesday, April 28th proved to be the lucky night for one fortunate hunting party when they found the banner buried in the dirt in the cellar of South Hall (now Smith Hall), and they marched the halls “singing in triumph”. Sometimes I wonder why traditions like these don’t continue into modern years. They create great memories.