Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 7
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
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Forty Stuart Students Do Their Part to Break Gettysburg Recital Record

“Loud voices — we’re making history!” exclaimed Stuart Country Day School teacher Meg Caddeau to the 40 students gathered in Stuart’s gymnasium last Thursday morning, as the countdown to 10:30 a.m. began. At that moment, schoolchildren and others across the nation wanting to honor the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, simultaneously read the Gettysburg Address.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the previous record for the most people reading the speech aloud at the same time is 223,363. To ensure that their participation would be counted, each Stuart student signed her name to a list that would be sent to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Illinois. From there the totals will be forwarded to Guinness. Four “independent witnesses” were also on hand to legitimize the count.

“Even though we’re not studying the Civil War at the moment, we decided to participate in this event because we wanted to honor Abe Lincoln and the ideals he stood for,” said Ms. Caddeau.

“We also took this opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the Gettysburg Address. As Lincoln asserted, the world can never forget what the brave men who died at Gettysburg died for and ‘it is for us, the living… to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us.’”

Stuart students’ study of the election process last fall culminated in a two-day trip to Washington, D.C. by eighth graders in December, and the entire school watched the swearing-in of President Obama last month, reported the civics teacher.

“I learned about this event, sponsored by the Lincoln Library, on Facebook just a couple days ago and immediately started to figure out a way to involve my students,” she said. “We are most grateful to the four people who volunteered their time to help us out: Paula Chow, Lillian Minus, Kurt Shulte, and Tom Southerland.”

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