Friday, February 15, 2008

Abe Lincoln delivers pennies to Perkins students

Students, families and staff at the Michael J. Perkins Elementary School in South Boston welcomed a special surprise visitor today. Just a few days before a national holiday in his honor, and a few days after his 199th birthday, Abraham Lincoln stopped by to support the school's penny drive. The 16th U.S. President contributed to the fund-raising effort with a delivery of pennies that bear his face, as well as a stack of children's books about the penny.

The school community is trying to collect one million pennies to create a college scholarship fund for Perkins alumni. The One Million x .01 = Opportunity Scholarship Fund aims to raise $10,000, penny-by-penny, while serving as a hands-on math lesson to help elementary students conceptualize large numbers. Mr. Lincoln was portrayed by George Cheevers, himself a Boston Public Schools teacher at the Boston Adult Technical Academy. Pictured here, (top photo) third grader Aurore Ndayishimiye greets the special visitor, and (bottom photo), kindergarten students Cameron Lapaglia-Deane and Shakira Mathurin admire the pennies collected to date. See the complete web album.


Casey said...

Where's Abe's beard? ;-)

Very cool project - both for its teaching aspects and for the resulting scholarship. I wish I had a project like this when I was in elementary school!

Melissa Duggan said...

Good question, Casey. Abe Lincoln is famous for that beard, but he didn't actually grow it until just before he became president. There is a great story about an 11-year-old girl named Grace Bedell who wrote Lincoln a letter advising him to grow a beard to help him win the election. When he traveled to Washington, D.C. for his inaguration, Lincoln stopped in Westfield, New York, where he met Grace in peron. A transcript of Grace's letter and Lincoln's response can be found here:

Mr. Cheevers, the Lincoln presenter who visited the Perkins, happens to be beardless at the moment (he grows his own beard rather than usuing an artificial one for his Lincoln presentations). So he was able to share the story of Grace Bedell with curious students who asked that same question.

Thanks for your comment!

Melissa Duggan
Boston Public Schools

Casey said...

Wow - thanks for the response. Quite informative. I will certainly share that fact whenever Abe's beard is mentioned!

Evelyn Correa said...

I am so thanful for all of the people at Court St. and the community from all of Boston that are contributing to our 1 Million Pennies. This has really gotten a big boost since it was published. Thank you to Dr. Johnson for sending the school the very nice note. This was a great learning experience for our students and the staff. I look forward to announcing the day that we have reached our goal.