The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 10, 2013

Monroe 5th-graders make history come to life

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Thursday afternoon was like a mini-Chautauqua in the fifth-grade class at Monroe Elementary School.

Abraham Lincoln wearing his high top hat, George Washington and sharpshooter Annie Oakley were among the famous people brought to life by Traci Layton and Desiree Highberger’s fifth-grade classes.

Angel Morales portrayed President Theodore Roosevelt, talking about his early life as well as later being elected president.

“When I was 2 years old, the Civil War started and that scared me,” Morales said.

He recounted Roosevelt’s early health battles and the days his father had to take him riding in a swift carriage to ease his asthma.

Owen Killam portrayed Benjamin Franklin.

“I taught myself how to read and write,” Killam said. “My parents sent me to school to learn to be a minister, but it was soon clear I was not meant to be a minister.”

His parents pulled him out of the school two years later.

“Then they sent me to be an apprentice at my brother’s print shop,” Killam said.

After learning the printing trade, Franklin started the Pennsylvania Gazette.

“It became the largest newspaper in America,” Killam said.

Other famous characters in the classroom Thursday included President John F. Kennedy, Harriet Tubman, Harry Houdini, Albert Einstein, Abigail Adams, Mother Theresa, soccer sensation Pele, Princess Diana, Helen Keller, Henry Ford and Jesse Owens.

The students read biographies of their subject, wrote a report about the person, then re-enacted the person for the class, Highberger said.