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Fri, Dec. 13

Lincoln School celebrates first 100 years

Sharlot Hall Museum/Courtesy

Sharlot Hall Museum/Courtesy

Click here for video of Lincoln's 100th birthday celebrationPRESCOTT - A wooden plaque hangs on a wall in Lincoln Elementary School Principal Bucky Bates' office. It reads: "Oh, the stories these old walls could tell."Friday, during Lincoln's 100th birthday celebration, the walls did not tell any stories, but some former students and teachers sure did."I remember when the playground was dirt and we would run all around on the boulders and there wasn't a fence around the school," Fernando "Fred" Otero remembered. At 98, Otero is the oldest living Lincoln alumn."We used to slide down that old banister and get in trouble all the time," he said. "I went and checked and that banister is still there."The celebration Friday was as much family reunion as school celebration.First-grader Anika Larson's mother attended Lincoln. Her grandmother, Rita Brammer, is the school secretary."I like it here," Anika said."We love it here. It feels like a great big family," Cassie Baker said. Her son, Jacob, is a kindergartner at the school.The day started with students and parents filling the multi-purpose auditorium to watch the Prescott High School ROTC cadets post the Arizona and American flags in an impressive display of professionalism.Students wowed the audience with songs, dances and skits. After introducing Otero to the audience, local historian Sylvia Neely took visitors on a stroll down memory lane with a slide show filled with old and recent photographs.David Will, who co-chaired the centennial committee with Neely, attended Lincoln from 1945 to 1949. His mother, Harriett Will, worked 16 years as the school secretary under former principal Charlie Phillips, who attended the afternoon events."We absolutely love it here," Sarah Rouette said. Her son, Corbin, attends kindergarten at the school. "Bucky (principal) is out here every morning greeting us."It is small and intimate and very family connected. It feels like a traditional school."After a fashion show that included styles from 1909, the year the City of Prescott built Lincoln School, students and guests moved outside to watch the highlight event - a Maypole dance.Historians credit the Druids of the British Isles with inventing the Maypole dance sometime before the 14th Century. Traditionally, dancers perform it on May 1. However, as Neely pointed out, a 100th anniversary comes only once.The dance involves students holding sturdy ribbons attached to the top of a pole. They move around the pole while changing partners and directions. Eventually, they weave a braid at the top of the pole and reverse the dance to undo the braid."That is a lot more intricate than I expected," one spectator commented. "I thought they just ran around tying up the ribbons."After the dance, Bates called the students back to class.On the back of the plaque hanging in Bates' office, former alumni have carved their names and the dates they attended Lincoln Elementary School."Patti Bates, 1965-1961," reads one carving. Patti is Bucky's mother. "Sandy Jones, 1952-1958," reads another. Sandy is Bucky's aunt."I had a lot of fun here, this is a good school," Otero said. "I think everyone had a good time today," Will said. "Great turnout."
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