The junior class at Central Plains High School took a trip to the past on Thursday, May 14, without even leaving the building. They were presented with a reenactment of the life story of Abraham Lincoln.
Steve Burns, resident of Russell, began his career in reenactment after discovering he looked similar to former President Abraham Lincoln. He found this resemblance after deciding to grow his beard out and his wife trimmed it in different styles. “You don’t see any pictures of Abe Lincoln without a beard,” he said. The discovery sparked his curiosity of the President’s life, encouraging him to research Lincoln’s legacy. He then began to travel across Kansas to present himself as Old Abe.
Burns spent many hours perfecting his image of Abe Lincoln and getting all the facts straight. “I do it to the best of my ability. I try my upmost to keep my facts correct,” he said.
CPHS junior Brittani Grubb and cook DeAnna Moran discovered Burns at a celebration in Beaver. “He did a really good job and it related to what we were talking about in American History, so I talked to my teacher to see if we could have him speak for the class,” said Grubb.
The American History class, taught by Susan Barker, had been learning about the Civil War and Reconstruction. The timing worked out just right. “To have someone who has a deep knowledge of Abraham Lincoln come and portray him to my junior class was fantastic and it gave them the ability to ask ‘President Lincoln’ questions that broadened their understanding of the man himself,” said Barker.
The show started with a round of applause from the students. Dressed in a top hat, bowtie and frock coat, “Lincoln” discussed family, religion, the Civil War, and his assassination.
Overall, students found the presentation interesting, learning multiple new facts. “In many ways it gave me a better understanding of the personal life of Abraham Lincoln,” said junior Cody Price.
One quote from Abraham Lincoln that stood out to junior Lexie Broeker was “I say try! If we never try, we never succeed.” Broeker found this inspirational because Lincoln failed many times but still became one of the most respected Presidents in U.S. history.
With a tip of the hat, Burns finished his presentation and packed up his props. “I want students to realize what was actually there with our late President. I do it for the education,” he said.