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Students study McKinley

Third- to fifth-grade kids learn during skit about the president whom their school is named after.

January 30, 2008|By Rachel Kane

President William McKinley was assassinated more than a century ago, but on Tuesday morning, a few parents and a principal managed to breathe new life into the former leader.

It was President McKinley’s birthday, and parents from William McKinley Elementary School put together a short skit for their third- to fifth-grade students on the president’s life.

“It’s an opportunity to let the kids know who their school is named after,” PTA President Suzanne Weerts said.

Many of the students had little to no information on the school’s namesake, she said, compared with other district schools named after presidents, such as George Washington or Thomas Jefferson.


So kindergarten parent Taia Perry-Kretz put together a historical script for a 15-minute skit consisting of a time-traveling news reporter, played by Weerts, who interviews the president, played by McKinley parent John Bresee.

From first thing in the morning until early afternoon, the trio were accompanied by Principal Bobbie Kavanaugh to 10 classrooms, where they played out their skit.

The skit was meant to give the students a broad and general knowledge, Weerts said, but there was no accompanying quiz or test after the show.

“I thought it was cool, I guess,” said Callie Suppa, 8, after seeing the skit in her class. “I learned some things. I learned that he wears those little red rose things on his shirt.”

The red rose things, according to the skit, were actually red carnations McKinley used to wear and keep around his office as a good luck charm.

A few facts were a little garbled in Callie’s memory, but she and classmate Matthew Rudas, 9, said they got the gist of it.

“He had a wife, and he met her in India,” Callie said.

Matthew began to shake his head.

“I thought it was Idaho,” Matthew said.

McKinley, the 24th president of the United States, met his wife in Ohio, where he lived for most of his adult life.

Even though some of the students got their facts a little mixed up, Matthew said he enjoyed the skit, and it kept him interested.

“I liked it because they mixed up the, how do you say it, enjoyment of a play with history so it wouldn’t be boring,” he said. “It taught us a lot.”

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