Breaking a world record with Abraham Lincoln

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By Bobby Ellis
bobby.ellis@education.ky.gov

Lincoln Elementary Performing Arts School (Jefferson County) is, unofficially, the new world record holder for the most Abraham Lincoln impersonators in one place at the same time. 

The final count for the day was 556 student and staff members who dressed up in black shirts and pants, stovepipe hats and beards. If Guinness World Records recognizes the number, Lincoln Elementary will have beat the previous record of 250 Abraham Lincoln impersonators by a large margin. 

It almost didn’t happen because the planned event, originally scheduled for Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on Feb. 12, had to be called off because of a snow day. 

“A lot of people moved their schedules around to help us make this happen,” said Michael Ice, the assistant principal of the school. “We got very lucky in that regard.” 

So, why attempt to break the world record for the most people dressed as Abraham Lincoln? According to Ice, the answer comes down to this: why not? 

“We do something every year and I thought this would be a good memory-making type event for the kids,” said Ice, who organized the event, along with Principal Susan French-Epps. “We’ve made sure that we made something educational out of it as well.” 

Along with striving for the world record, students learned about Lincoln’s role in American history. Dressed in their beards and hats, students discussed the Emancipation Proclamation and how it changed America. 

“This really is something,” said Larry Elliott, an Abraham Lincoln living history actor. He appeared at the event as Lincoln and gave a performance after the record-setting attempt. 

“I visit about 175 schools a year and this one is my favorite,” said Elliott. “This took a lot of planning and a lot of dedication and I just think it’s so neat. These kids are going to remember this for the rest of their lives.” 

News of the record setting attempt has even put Lincoln Elementary on the national map, as they were featured on Inside Edition. 

“It’s a crazy experience,” said Principal Susan French-Epps. “Michael really went above and beyond getting this organized.” 

Andrea Burkhead, a 4th-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary Performing Arts School (Jefferson County), wears a fake beard as she teaches her class about the Emancipation Proclamation. To be counted as part of the record setting attempt, student and staff members had to wear black pants, a black shirt, stove top hats and a fake beard. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Andrea Burkhead, a 4th-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary Performing Arts School (Jefferson County), wears a fake beard as she teaches her class about the Emancipation Proclamation. To be counted as part of the record-setting attempt, student and staff members had to wear black pants, a black shirt, stovepipe hats and a fake beard.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Andrea Burkhead helps Ericka Geer put on her fake beard before her class heads to the gym to attempt to break the world record for the highest number of people dressed as Abraham Lincoln in the same place. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Andrea Burkhead helps Ericka Geer put on her fake beard before her class heads to the gym to attempt to break the world record for the largest number of people dressed as Abraham Lincoln in the same place.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Andrea Burkhead holds up a finger to quite her students before they head to the gym to attempt to break the record. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Andrea Burkhead holds up a finger to quiet her students before they head to the gym to attempt to break the record.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Larry Elliott, an Abraham Lincoln living history actor, watches as students enter the Lincoln Elementary Performing Arts School gym. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Larry Elliott, an Abraham Lincoln living history actor, watches as students enter the Lincoln Elementary Performing Arts School gym.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Lincoln Elementary students watch as Larry Elliott waves to students as they enter the gym. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 18, 2018
Lincoln Elementary students watch as Larry Elliott waves to students as they enter the gym.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 18, 2018
Larry Elliott looks over his speech before students and staff attempt to break the record for the most people dressed as Abraham Lincoln in the same place. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Larry Elliott looks over his speech before students and staff attempt to break the record for the most people dressed as Abraham Lincoln in the same place.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Rebecca Rich, a 3rd-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary, helps a student put on a fake beard before the students and staff attempt to break the world record. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Rebecca Rich, a 3rd-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary, helps a student put on a fake beard before the students and staff attempt to break the world record.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
A young student dressed as Abraham Lincoln, watches Larry Elliott as he performs his living history performance after the record setting attempt at Lincoln Elementary. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 18, 2018
A young student dressed as watches Larry Elliott as he does his living-history performance as Abraham Lincoln after the record-setting attempt at Lincoln Elementary.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 18, 2018
Sheila Riley, a resource and intervention teacher at Lincoln Elementary, counts up the number of students and staff member who dressed as Abraham Lincoln. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Sheila Riley, a resource and intervention teacher at Lincoln Elementary, counts up the number of students and staff members who dressed as Abraham Lincoln.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Larry Elliott performs a living history speech as Abraham Lincoln. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Larry Elliott performs a living-history speech as Abraham Lincoln.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Larry Elliott performs as Abraham Lincoln after the record setting attempt at Lincoln Elementary. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Larry Elliott performs as Abraham Lincoln after the record-setting attempt at Lincoln Elementary.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Volunteers help count up the number of students and staff who dressed as Abraham Lincoln at Lincoln Elementary. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Volunteers help count up the number of students and staff who dressed as Abraham Lincoln at Lincoln Elementary.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Susan French-Epps, the principal of Lincoln Elementary, hugs a student after the school unofficially set a record for the most people dressed as Abraham Lincoln in the same place. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018
Susan French-Epps, the principal of Lincoln Elementary, hugs a student after the school unofficially set a record for the most people dressed as Abraham Lincoln in the same place.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 14, 2018

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