WILMINGTON — Students at St. Ann’s School got to travel back in time on Feb. 7 with the help of a special friend. The Phillie Phanatic visited Wilmington to help tell the story in his book, “The Phillie Phanatic’s Philadelphia Story.”
The Phanatic came to St. Ann’s because the fifth grade performed superbly in the “Phanatic About Reading” challenge. Lots of red was visible in the gymnasium when the furry green visitor from the Galapagos Islands entered to loud applause and cheering.
The Phanatic did his best to get the students riled up, pulling several faculty members out of the bleachers for some impromptu dancing. He then posed for a photo with the fifth grade before Lou De Angelo, the diocesan superintendent of schools, read “The Phillie Phanatic’s Philadelphia Story” while the Phanatic acted it out.
In the book, the Phanatic is a student preparing for a history test, and his mother, Phoebe, gives him a
virtual reality helmet to transport him back to colonial Philadelphia. There, he builds the country’s first public library, and he comes across Ben Franklin flying a kite. He and Franklin dance the “Electric Slide” to commemorate Franklin’s discovery of electricity.
Franklin notices that the Phanatic’s shirt is worn, so he calls a seamstress to make him a new one. Betsy Ross — portrayed by longtime St. Ann’s teacher Sheila O’Callaghan — makes him a shirt, and they like the pattern so much that it serves as the inspiration for the country’s new flag.
Franklin and the Phanatic then walk to Independence Hall to sign the Declaration of Independence, after which, the Phanatic takes off the helmet and is transported back home to modern-day Philadelphia.
Of course, no visit from the Phanatic would be complete without a rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” which seemed appropriate as the mascot prepared for his trip to Florida for spring training, which was to begin less than two weeks later.