Lincoln Elementary students, staff connect to namesake

Lincoln Elementary School Principal Adam Drummond (left)  speaks to students, teachers and community members at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a log cabin replica of Abrahm Lincoln's boyhood home.
Lincoln Elementary School Principal Adam Drummond (left) speaks to students, teachers and community members at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a log cabin replica of Abrahm Lincoln's boyhood home. Photo by Matt Murphy.

A local elementary school has reconnected with its heritage, helping its students create a link between themselves and a man they have never met.

In recognition of the school's namesake, Lincoln Elementary School students and staff built a replica log cabin of former president Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home in Indiana as the culmination of the school's "Learning and Living the Lincoln Legacy" theme.

"We wanted to create a visual reminder of what it means to be a student at Lincoln Elementary," says Adam Drummond, principal.

Staff and community members built the one-room cabin over the summer months from donated materials, and a ribbon-cutting was held on Friday, Feb. 12, Lincoln's 201st birthday.

The idea arose during a summer teacher conference, and the staff eventually decided to build the cabin in Lincoln's honor.

"We wanted to find a way to bring our school's name to life," Drummond says.

After the district office approved the theme and idea for the cabin, staff worked to have the cabin ready for school.

"It was a huge project, much bigger than we anticipated," says Drummond.

The cabin was not the only part of the students' and teachers' work to recognize Lincoln.

Each wing of the building - kindergarten and first grade, second and third grades and fourth and fifth grades - put together displays outlining different periods in Lincoln's life, from birth to his presidency.

"'Living the Lincoln Legacy' was a really awesome thing to do," says Lincoln Elementary Student Council President Kylie Sparks. "It piled up on me just how much he did."

Furthermore, the school began the "Learning and Living Lincoln's Legacy Lifeskills Award," which is an annual honor bestowed on two fifth grade students, one boy and one girl, who exemplify Abraham Lincoln's character traits. Winners' names will be placed on a plaque in the school's lobby.

Fifth-grade teacher Brandi Cross says that the award was created out of summer teacher meetings, and gives students the opportunity to recognize their own classmates.

Fifth-graders attend a town hall-style meeting, where they learn about and discuss Abraham Lincoln's character traits. The students are given a week to reflect on what they learned, and perform additional research on the 16th president. Students then nominate fellow fifth-graders for the award and vote on winners as a class.

"We feel that (Lincoln) is a good role model for our students," Cross says.

For 2010, the first year of the award, winners were Paige Berry and Jacob Garlits, both of whom were recognized at the cabin's ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Several local community members and businesses were recognized for their donations of time and supplies. Jane Bell provided the school with her artistic abilities, and put together much of the more intricate artwork for the project. Dave Burke, Ace Hardware, Juergens Do-It Center, Hare Canvas, Builder's Mart, Custom Craft, Zahm Greenhouses, Changing Seasons, Huntington Nursery, Citgo, Huntington Sheet Metal and numerous friends and family members of Lincoln Elementary's students and staff all contributed to the project.

The cabin will be on display in the lobby of Lincoln Elementary School.

Complete caption: Lincoln Elementary School Principal Adam Drummond (left) speaks to students, teachers and community members at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a log cabin replica of Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home as members of Lincoln Elementary School's student council (right) look on. The cabin was built by the school's staff and community members in conjunction with the school's theme of "Learning and Living the Lincoln Legacy." The cabin will be on display in the school's lobby.