MONROE, NC – Construction is underway at Union Academy upon breaking ground on the new Ken Stanley Memorial Ballpark. On March 2, students, teachers, and Union Academy Foundation members put their shovels in the ground, beginning construction on long-awaited baseball and softball fields.
These new ballfields are named in honor of Union Academy teacher and coach Ken Stanley, who died last year following a battle with COVID-19. Stanley taught math and science at the school for 15 years. His two children, Ian and Morgan, graduated from Union Academy as well.
Stanley was well loved at Union Academy for the enthusiasm and happy atmosphere that he brought to the classroom and the ballfield. From chair races to cartwheels, Stanley helped his students to always be at their best by providing a space in which they wanted to learn. He provided school supplies and lunch to many, and he will always be remembered by those that he impacted. The Union Academy Foundation wrote that no one gave more as a teacher than Ken Stanley, and that students will always remember how special he made them feel.
Baseball fields and softball fields have been a part of the grounds planning at Union Academy for 20 years now, and through community support and the fundraising efforts of the Union Academy Foundation, those plans are finally being realized. Jenna Westbrook, UA Foundation Executive Director, said that the progress made over the last 20 years at the school puts her in awe of the hard work, dedication, and community support that they have received.
“Everything that we do at UA, and through the foundation, we do it for students like these young men and women among us this morning,” Westbrook said at the groundbreaking ceremony. “Today, as we break ground on the new ballfield complex, we remember Ken Stanley, beloved father, teacher, coworker, mentor, and friend. We are proud to know that generations to come will know the name Ken Stanley through the naming of this ballpark.”
Kevin Sells, UA board chair, said that Stanley was much more than a teacher and baseball coach. Sells said that Stanley was a life coach.
“He taught teamwork, integrity, sportsmanship, and love,” said Sells. “He will be our little angel in the outfield when these fields are built.”
The Union Academy Foundation is a non-profit group founded in 2001, funding and supporting the buildings and grounds of the Union Academy charter school in Monroe. As a charter school, UA doesn’t receive public funding for these initiatives and relies on the foundation to grow, improve, and maintain many facilities.
Funds for buildings and grounds are raised by the foundation through events like their annual oyster roast, which raised more than $45,000 this year, and through support from sponsoring partners. The foundation has partnered with many local companies like Savings Unlimited, GeoSurfaces, Winchester Grading, Global Growth Partners, and more, to make the dream of the Ken Stanley Memorial Ballpark come to life.
To find out more about the new ballpark, the UA Foundation, or how you can #BeAStanley, visit the UA Foundation website at http://weareua.org or drop by their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/UnionAcademyFoundation.