Students hope to break Lincoln recordRed Wing students will be reading history Thursday in an attempt at making history.
By: Mike Longaecker The Republican Eagle, Worthington Daily Globe
Red Wing students will be reading history Thursday in an attempt at making history.
At 9:30 a.m., more than 1,000 Red Wing students will join with students from across the nation in reading President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Organizers of the Four Score and Seven Project are hoping there will be enough participation to set a world record for people simultaneously reading aloud.
The event falls on Lincoln's 200th birthday.
"I can think of no better way to commemorate Lincoln's birth than to have children across the nation read our 16th president's immortal words together," said Jan Grimes, a member of the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.
Twin Bluff Middle School history teacher Scott Bender caught wind of the event after visiting the Lincoln Presidential Library over the summer. He and other Twin Bluff teachers have been drawing extensively from the Four Score project's educational components.
In history class, students have gone over the context of the speech. Reading teachers have been using it for vocabulary building and fluency. Meanwhile, language arts classes have been noting the structure of the speech, which Bender said checks in at about three minutes.
"Sometimes a short speech just has extraordinary power," Bender said.
He said community interest in the project spiked higher than a stovepipe hat after he began spreading the word.
About 550 Twin Bluff students will be participating, including the son of Burnside Elementary Principal Sheila Beckner. Bender said that after Beckner's son expressed enthusiasm in the project, his mother caught the bug.
Now up to 700 Burnside students are also expected to participate. Another 45 Red Wing High School students are lined up for the event, plus various civic organizations - some of whom will serve as official monitors for Guinness Book of World Records.
Supt. Stan Slessor and Mayor John Howe will serve as lead readers.
Members of the community are encouraged to take part, Bender said. Just show up at the Twin Bluff gymnasium by 9 a.m., he said.
According to Guinness, the world record for most people reading aloud simultaneously is 223,363 participants.