Williamsport, PA School Honors Stevens
Kirk Felix is the principal of the Thaddeus
Stevens Elementary School in Williamsport,
PA. Five years ago he discovered the
greatness of Stevens and has since
honored him on his birthday.
Kirk Felix, the principal of the Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School in Williamsport, PA in 2005 decide to do
some research on the school's namesake to prepare for the institution's 25th anniversary. It turned out to be a
revelation.
"I was surprised at the literature I was finding," Felix said. "He was a very important figure in education and our
appreciation for him being the school's namesake went way up." And the 39-year-old principal did not leave
his discovery as a historical curiosity. He made it part of the fabric of his school.
He dug out a neglected picture of Stevens and hung it over the door to the main office. "I actually climbed the
ladder myself," Felix said. Also a page on the school's website is devoted to Stevens. And miraculously, a
short letter written by Stevens was discovered in the school's bell tower. "We have no idea how it got there,"
Felix said.
But most importantly, every year the school celebrates Stevens's birthday around April 4. Starting in 2006,
every teacher gets information about Stevens a few days before the birthday and is encouraged to find more
information on the Internet. Then on the birthday, teachers talk to the students about Stevens's importance. As
a grand finale, each student gets a cupcake and everybody sings happy birthday to Thad as Felix leads them
over the intercom.
Stevens is an inspirational figure to the student body, Felix said. "We need to emulate him," he said.
The Thaddeus Stevens Society will help with the next birthday celebration. Ross Hetrick, president of the
Society, will portray Stevens before the students, who range from kindergartners through fifth graders. "I hope
to dramatize Stevens's importance to their country and their own lives," Hetrick said.