Hesitantly, 10-year-old Anson Graft, student at Granbury’s Lakeside Baptist Academy and son of Texas Torchbearer Melanie Graft, mailed his class project, a hand crafted “Flat Stanley,” to President Donald Trump.

According to Anson’s mother, Melanie Graft, he wasn’t optimistic he would get anything in return. One could imagine the excitement of the family when Anson received a first-class letter back from the White House.

“Your decision to send Flat Stanley to Washington shows that you understand the importance of being active in the life of our great nation,” wrote the president. “It is my hope that his journey to the White House will inspire you and your friends to continue learning more about our history and system of government.”

The May 1 letter also stated President Trump’s staff was pleased to meet Flat Stanley and wanted to let Anson know he had an official visit, badge included. During the visit, Flat Stanley learned about the executive branch, the history of the American presidency and all the families have resided at the White House, and he was respectful and a great listener.

“Flat Stanley even got to have a little fun by watching a movie in the White House Family Theater and hang out at the Truman Bowling Alley,” the letter said.

Melanie Graft contacted Texas Scorecard and sent us a copy of the letter and a photo of her son Anson gleaming with joy, Trump’s letter in one hand and his Flat Stanley in the other.

“Anson had the idea of sending Stanley to the White House, knowing all along it was a long shot we would ever hear anything,” Graft said. “But today there was a first-class letter waiting for him at our front door from the White House with a letter from President Trump enclosed.”

Earlier on April 18th, Anson and Flat Stanley made a trip to Austin where they received a tour of the Empower Texans office and got a picture in the 1836 Studios and a tour of the Texas Capitol.

The “Flat Stanley Project” is one that has taken place in grade schools for years. One of the reasons the Flat Stanley Project has become a longest-lasting literacy project is due to the simplicity of the concept.

After drawing a character on a sheet of paper and cutting him out, kids send a flat visitor to a school, celebrity, family member, politician, or anyone of interest and the recipient typically returns the little flat guy along with a completed journal and perhaps some souvenirs such as postcards, photos, or special items.

According to Melanie Graft, this project wasn’t any ordinary project. She said her son was assigned the project by his teacher, Virginia Fisher, who is retiring this year. Anson wanted to make his final project special, just for her.

“I was very excited,” Anson said. “I also got an A+ for my class assignment too!”

Graft said she and Anson were very honored and humbled.

“We are grateful that President Trump’s administration took the time to respond to a 10-year-old’s request and dream,” she said.

Graft said Flat Stanley will sit inside a safe in their home with the letter until they get a frame to display them in their home.

Now, there is a statewide movement to get Anson himself to the White House for his dream of meeting President Trump in the oval office under the hashtag. #GetAnsonToTheWhiteHouse

Zach Maxwell

Zach Maxwell is a contributor to Texas Scorecard and leads the Texas Torchbearers. Raised in Cisco, he has worked in various positions in the legislature and on campaigns.

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