Four score and seven years old: Elementary Schoolers play presidents

Feb 15, 2023

Abraham Lincoln is wearing Jordans.

John F. Kennedy is wearing Converse sneakers.

He, Ronald Reagan and Joe Biden have their hair in ponytails. 

Barack Obama has pale skin, orange hair and freckles. 

William Henry Harrison and Franklin Pierce are too small to reach the microphone. 

These aren’t your founding fathers’ presidents. 

They’re the commanders in chief as portrayed by the first and second graders of Wareham Elementary School.

Historical and partisan divides came down during the Elementary School’s Hall of Presidents show on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

Rather than taking the Disney World approach of using creepy robots, students used oversized suits, gray hair dye, fake mustaches, painted-on beards and powdered wigs made of cotton balls to bring history to life. 

As presidents, students introduced themselves and stated an interesting fact, such as Dwight D. Eisenhower being a former cheerleader or William McKinley having a pet parrot that could whistle “Yankee Doodle.”  

“He was a cowboy and the teddy bear was named after him,” said first grader Harry Hegarty, who played Theodore Roosevelt. 

After researching him for his performance, Harry considers himself a Theodore Roosevelt fan. He practiced a lot for the role, and while he felt shy, he enjoyed being on stage. 

His mother Dawn got his costume ready, making a mustache out of cotton balls, double-sided tape and a Sharpie marker. 

Dawn was beaming with pride at her son’s “amazing” performance. She hopes he does not pursue a career in politics, “but he’d be good at it.”

“Can I take my mustache off now?” Harry asked her. 

Like Daniel-Day Lewis before him, second grader Cameron Roux carefully prepared for his role as Abraham Lincoln, but not without help. His grandmother got the costume for him. 

“An interesting fact about me is that I was sick with polio and my legs were paralyzed,” said Trent Garrick, who played Franklin D. Roosevelt.

He then walked back to his seat.

As Barack Obama, Graysen Franklin waved and blew kisses to the audience, which gave all of the pint-sized presidents a standing ovation. 

Students also drew portraits of the presidents they portrayed, which were on display in the Elementary School lobby.