Little leaders: Elementary students learn what it means to be president

Feb 20, 2024

One by one they approached the microphone — first and second graders dressed in suits, gray wigs and fake facial hair. 

“My name is George Washington,” said student Elenor Arsenault in a big white wig. “I was the first president of the United States.”

Holding up a one dollar bill, Arsenault added, “An interesting fact about me is that my face is on the quarter and the one dollar bill.”

The Wareham Elementary School students in first grade teacher Kathy Harunk’s class and second grade teacher Suzanne Allen’s class took to the stage Thursday, Feb. 15 to honor the United States’ 46 presidents for President's Day.

Harunk said the Presidents Hall presentation is done every year and is “always unique.”

Early on, students drew names from a hat in order to select their president, Harunk said. When the students returned from winter break in January, they began researching. Students completed a report as well as a portrait of their respective presidents. 

All of their hard work culminated into a night they’ll surely remember as they took what they learned and shared it with all their friends and families.

Student Liliana Maraccini shared how President James Madison was the first president to wear long pants instead of “knee breeches and stockings.”

Taking off his top hat, student Harry Hegarty demonstrated how President Abraham Lincoln would hide important documents inside the famous hat.

Holding up a smart phone, student Ariella Hewson shared how President Rutherford B. Hayes was the first to have a telephone in the White House — though probably a much older model than what Hewson could get her hands on.

According to student Isabella Nguyen, President Calvin Coolidge owned a pet racoon named Rebecca, which would often be walked on a leash.

And apparently, President Richard Nixon’s favorite lunch is cottage cheese with ketchup, according to student Loyal Ortiz.