'Betsy Ross' visits Barfield students

Sue Keller

Former educator Gayle Thawley couldn't be happier with the historical programs coming for students at Tommie Barfield Elememtary. Thawley was recently installed on the Education Committee Board of the Marco Island Historical Society.

This week, three third-grade classes at Barfield met "Betsy Ross," born Jan. 1, 1752. Writer and Historical Society member Betsy Perdichizzi portrayed Ross, who was dressed in costume of the times.

Perdichizzi borrowed a 1777 flag with 13 stars and 13 stripes from Collier County Museum, courtesy of Tim England. The flag she borrowed from the museum is called the "John Shaw Flag" with an attached note that the flag would fly over Annapolis while the Continental Congress met.

"The children were fascinated when I showed them how to fold the paper and then cut it with one snip of the scissors on my belt," said Perdichizzi. "When I unfolded it they all said, 'Ah-h-h' and clapped as if I had done a magic trick."

Upcoming presentations will be on the U.S. Constitution and the president's wives.

"The MIHS is tapping into our island's greatest resource, its incredibly knowledgeable and talented residents, to spark learning by enlivening history," said Thawley. "An 'all-call' has been sent to many members of MIHS and even a couple of very talented non-members. The response reflects a genuine commitment to bring yesterday's history alive today!"