This is Flat Sydnie. She is eight years old and in Grade 2 in Miss Schmidt’s class in a Wenatchee, Wash. school.
Flat Sydnie loves the colour blue, and although you can’t tell in this photo, she has pink and purple hair and blue nail polish.
Sydnie arrived in my mailbox last week, part of a Flat Stanley geography project that a friend of mine is doing in her classroom.
Flat Stanley, for the uninitiated, is based on a book of the same title written by Jeff Brown. Stanley is flattened by a bulletin board in the story and discovers he can visit his friends by travelling in an envelope.
When I heard that my friend was looking for volunteers willing to host a “Flat Stanley” for 10 days, I jumped at the opportunity. I am not unfamiliar with the program, having been involved two other times through Girl Guides.
So far Sydnie has travelled a little bit throughout Port Alberni, accompanying me on assignments. A few people have agreed to have their photo taken with Sydnie, which I appreciate: I have a journal to fill out and will have to send photos back to Flat Sydnie’s class when I am done.
It has been an interesting lesson to look at Port Alberni through the eyes of a child: describing the community in language that a second-grader would understand.
Would she really care about the coal issue, or how often the garbage trucks collect our garbage? What about recycling? Tourism? (I have covered the Seven Wonders, although I haven’t taken her to the mill—yet.)
I’m having a hard enough time with the whole imperial-metric conversion when talking about the weather that I don’t think I’ll attempt to explain our municipal government.
I do, however, have a great story about the bear that visited my backyard.
Susie Quinn is the Alberni Valley News editor.