Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln

Students celebrate Lincoln’s 211th birthday with cards

By Samantha Tucker samantha@prairiepress.net
Posted 2/17/20

A legendary president just celebrated a happy 211th birthday. Students from across Edgar County decked The Link Art Gallery wall-to-wall with handmade birthday cards for Abraham Lincoln at the third …

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Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln

Students celebrate Lincoln’s 211th birthday with cards

Posted

A legendary president just celebrated a happy 211th birthday. Students from across Edgar County decked The Link Art Gallery wall-to-wall with handmade birthday cards for Abraham Lincoln at the third annual Lincoln Birthday Card Contest, Feb. 9.

Fourth and fifth graders representing Crestwood, Wenz, Kansas and Shiloh decorated their cards with Lincoln portraits, his famous quotes and even poems. Many kids wrote Lincoln personal messages and told him he was their favorite president.

Participants competed for first, second, third and grand prize ribbons with accompanying prizes like Lincoln memorabilia, gift cards and books.

Christie Russell of the Link Art Board and Looking for Lincoln Committee opened Sunday’s contest with a little history. As it turned out, the art gallery was the perfect place to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday. The Link Art Center was originally a home built in 1828 by Lincoln’s friend Milton K. Alexander. Lincoln was the Alexander family’s lawyer and guest during his time riding the Eighth Judicial Circuit.

“The Alexander family entertained Lincoln, probably in this very room,” Russell said.

The card contest was also in keeping with Lincoln’s legacy as a popular subject for artists. Russell said the Lincoln Memorial and Lincoln’s likeness on the five-dollar bill are obvious examples of Lincoln artwork, but there are also prolific statues and paintings of him across the state of Illinois.

Art Board members told students before the awards were announced the talent and care going into each entry made the final decisions difficult. However, several cards stood out from the pack.

Awards began with Link Art Board member Tiffany Gale announcing the third-place winners: Keisha Budd, fifth grade, Shiloh; Alexis Conley, fourth grade, Kansas; Trey Wheeler, fourth grade, Crestwood; Bella Goodwin, fourth grade, Wenz.

Gale knew what interested her most about the entries she judged.

“I love the colors, I love the personal touches,” she said. She also enjoys seeing how many cute, cartoony Lincolns appear every year.

Sue Anne Casey, another board member, presented the second-place winners: Ahlyssa Garwood, fifth grade, Shiloh; Karter Brown, fifth grade, Kansas; Rileigh Cook, fourth grade, Crestwood; Destini Pick, fourth grade, Wenz.

“Having been an English teacher, I always love to see people write,” she said. Many students wrote personal messages in their cards, and Casey was excited to see students interacting with Lincoln this way. “It was almost as if you were writing to Lincoln himself.”

Russell took the podium again to reveal the first-place birthday card artists: Addison Wright, fifth grade, Shiloh; Aubrey Brandenburg, fifth grade, Kansas; Madison Wheeler-Rhoads, fifth grade, Crestwood; London Pruiett, fifth grade, Wenz.

Russell’s personal criteria for a good card were creativity and knowledge about Lincoln. Students’ neat handwriting also gave them an edge.

“We noticed a few entries now are in cursive, which was a nice change from the last couple of years,” she said.

The Grand Prize winner was Wheeler-Rhoads, for her vibrant art and poem to Lincoln, which she read to applause from the audience.

The Link Art Gallery thanked the sponsors of this year’s Lincoln Birthday Card Contest: Pearman Pharmacy, Clinic Pharmacy, Altrusa International, McDonald’s, Tom Hebermehl, Bob’s Bookstore in Charleston, Patti and Greg McHenry, Pat and Susan Bell, Peg Giesler and the Art Center Board.