A Proud Community

Red, white and blue were the predominant colors at Lincoln Elementary School on Friday.

Lincoln students, staff and faculty celebrated Flag Day with a variety of flag-themed activities and snacks.

The celebration worked out well for the students, who were also treated with a 11:30 half-day dismissal. Katie Russo, Lincoln principal, said it was important to her that she keep the tradition at the school going.

“This is a tradition that started at Lincoln before I was here,” she said. “I wanted to keep it going in order to teach the kids to be proud. A lot of times, we teach the kids to be proud of their school. But we also need to encourage them to be proud of their community and their country. So, this is just raising an awareness for them on a holiday that maybe they wouldn’t normally celebrate.”

The celebration began at 10 a.m. with a schoolwide assembly. During the assembly, hundreds of American flags could be seen waving throughout the crowd as the students were led in vocal renditions of songs such as, “You’re A Grand Old Flag,” “This Land Is Your Land” and “America, The Beautiful.”

Following the assembly, the students then filed out behind their teachers to walk and, in some cases, march around the block. Occasional cheers of “Happy Flag Day” were accompanied by a variety of red, white and blue costumes-featuring combinations of glasses, hats and shirts.

As they returned from the parade, the students were then situated on the sidewalks in front of the school and served their popsicles; which many students considered their favorite aspect of the celebration. According to Sophia Simons and Calvin Ricker, fourth-graders, the Flay Day celebration is something they look forward to every year.

“I like (Flag Day) because we get to learn about the flag,” said Sophia.

“I like the assembly, and (learning about) the history of our country, the flag and Betsy Ross,” said Calvin.

According to Mary Barker, a Lincoln teacher, the annual observation of Flag Day at Lincoln came about through a collaboration between her and Molly Collins, a former teacher. Barker said the first celebration, which took place in the spring of 1996, consisted of a kindergarten parade through the halls. From there, she said, the celebration expanded to the schoolwide, outdoor event it is today.

“(We thought) it was important to teach the kids about Flag Day, because many of them don’t know about it,” said Barker. “A lot of adults don’t even know about Flag Day. It gives (students) meaning to learn about history. When they start in kindergarten they say the pledge (of allegiance), but I think it just gives them that initial information that they can build on as they learn more about history.”

Russo said the event serves to build a sense of community throughout the school.

“We’re trying really hard to build school community, and it’s very hard to do that with the rigor of the curriculum. So, when we can take the opportunity to bring them together as a school, and the kids look around and see something that’s the same about all of us, it’s just really important,” she said.