Concord campus among Flat Stanley’s destinations
Ginny Stevens Shirley ’76 completed a 34-year career as a first grade teacher with a fun and educational project that led her back to her alma mater. Ms. Shirley and her students at Pineville Elementary School in Wyoming County participated in the Flat Stanley Project this school year.
Ms. Shirley, who retired in June, included Concord University in the class project to teach her students about where she went to college. “I’ve always been very proud that I graduated from here,” she said.
“Flat Stanley” was written in 1964 by Jeff Brown. In the children’s book, young Stanley Lambchop is flattened in his sleep when a large bulletin board falls on him. With this new shape that allows him to slide under doors and be mailed in an envelope, Stanley begins a series of adventures.
He has since traveled the world through the Flat Stanley Project which involves children writing letters to famous and interesting persons and locations. The letters are then mailed, each with a Flat Stanley slipped inside the envelope. When he returns, this storybook adventurer shares tales of his journey via a letter from his host.
Ms Shirley and her students sent Flat Stanleys to Concord University and other destinations including the White House and the West Virginia Office of the Governor. The Flat Stanley who visited Concord, like his counterparts from Ms. Shirley’s class, was a paper cutout that had been hand-colored by a student then laminated.
Sharon Manzo in the President’s Office was his hostess. She penned Flat Stanley’s Concord response letter and mailed it back with him to Pineville Elementary. Chris Mabe from the Advancement Office accompanied him on his campus tour documenting the visit in photographs.
Ms. Shirley said she and the young man who coordinated Flat Stanley’s visit to the “Campus Beautiful” were “thrilled” with the response placing it in the same league as those with a Washington, D.C. or Charleston postmark.
“I was very impressed that someone here and in Charleston and at the White House took time to make a story out of it,” she said. “It (Concord letter) was the best response we got. I don’t think they will forget it.”
Ms. Shirley enjoyed reading about and seeing photographs of Flat Stanley’s visit to Concord so much that she made the trip herself on June 11. Her traveling companion was another Flat Stanley created by her class.