From a penny to a podium

Jackie Conley

Abraham Lincoln's face stepped off the penny and into full color for

students at Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School on Friday.

Wearing a bow tie, top hat and sporting a real beard, impersonator

John Kendall presented a history lesson dressed as the nation's 16th


"I knew if I didn't grow a real beard, it would be the one thing

they would remember is a phony one," Kendall said.

More than 300 children attended the school's first Lincoln

Assembly, during which Kendall spouted out facts about Lincoln.

"I learned about his childhood and he gave a speech I never heard

before," third-grader Sydney Deeter said.

Celebrated annually on the third Monday in February, the

Presidents Day holiday honors the birthdays of Lincoln and George

Washington, the nation's first president.

Kendall visited with kindergartners before moving into the

auditorium to make a presentation for those in first through fifth


"He died, I'm scared, how is he coming back?" wondered Caitlin

Chales, 5.

After Kendall was introduced, Caitlin and the rest of her

kindergarten classmates were eager to share all they knew about their

famous visitor.

"It's always nice to have someone come in person and engage the

students," said Bri Miller, a kindergarten teacher.

Later, Kendall took the stage in the auditorium and told students

about Lincoln's life and then recited the Gettysburg Address speech

Lincoln delivered in 1863.

Elected president in 1860, Lincoln wrote and issued the

Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves three years later.

"With Presidents Day and this being Black History Month, I

couldn't think of a person better to celebrate," said Lori Deeter,

assembly chairwoman.

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