Students wish Honest Abe a happy 200th


POSTED: Friday, February 13, 2009

Students draped long strands of orchid and cigar leis around the 14-foot statue of President Abraham Lincoln fronting Ewa Elementary School.

;[Preview] Presidents Day At Noelani Elementary

Students read their Dear Mr. President Letters at President's Obama's Former Preschool

Watch ]


”;We honor him because he is, like, the president that held the United States together when the nation was against itself,”; said 11-year-old Crislin Wong.

Lincoln's integrity inspires Wong. “;He always told the truth. ... I try to follow the good deeds that he did,”; she said.

About 700 people joined the student body, faculty and staff at Ewa Elementary School yesterday to celebrate the bicentennial birthday of Lincoln. It is the 65th annual program the school has held in honor of the 16th U.S. president.

Members of the Royal Hawaiian Band and the Ewa Plantation Singers performed at yesterday's event. Students from pre-kindergarten to sixth grade also performed songs and readings in Lincoln's honor. Guests included Gov. Linda Lingle, Mayor Mufi Hannemann, schools Superintendent Pat Hamamoto and area representatives.

President Obama often speaks about his admiration for Lincoln. They both served in the Illinois Legislature at times in their careers and went on to Congress - Lincoln in the House and Obama, the Senate.

“;What he stands for, what President Obama stands for, is that you can grow up and achieve great things,”; Hannemann said.

Students across the country celebrated Lincoln's birthday yesterday. At the Lincoln presidential museum in Springfield, Ill., hundreds of excited schoolchildren joined in reciting his Gettysburg Address - an attempt to break the record for the biggest worldwide crowd reading aloud together.

At Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., where an assassin felled Lincoln in 1865, people celebrated his birthday with performances of Lincoln's great speeches. In Owensboro, Ky., the president's life was set to bluegrass music in the style of another famous native son, musician Bill Monroe.

Ewa Elementary's statue came after teacher and Principal Katherine McIntosh Burke, a Lincoln admirer, willed $8,000 for construction, according to the school's Web site.

Alumna Anne Tashiro Chang of the class of 1960 attended yesterday's ceremony with her classmates Berlinda Silva Dixon and Deanna Onitsuka Sato. The trio were in ninth grade when the school included intermediate and high school freshman students before converting solely to an elementary school.

Chang said they have not attended every annual Lincoln Day event at the school, but made a point yesterday because of the 200th milestone birthday. “;It's a big celebration. That's why we're here,”; she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.