Students Explore the Life of Lincoln at Symposium

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High school students and community members were educated on the life of Abraham Lincoln during the highly prestigious Living Lincoln Symposium on Oct. 10, held at the high school for the first time.  

The event, made possible through a grant from the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, featured four speakers, each of whom presented talks on America’s 16th president through a variety of lenses.

Among the speakers were artist Wendy Allen, who spoke about searching for America’s soul; Joseph Fornieri, a professor of political science at the Rochester Institute of Technology, who spoke about the statesmanship of Lincoln; the Hon. Frank Williams, former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island, who spoke about civil liberties; and Howard Wright, a member of the Association of Lincoln Presenters, who spoke about Lincoln’s vision for the future.

“The 11th-grade students in attendance gained a wealth of knowledge,” said district history teacher Ruth Squillace, who brought the symposium to fruition by applying for the foundation grant.

In addition to having their current classroom lessons on the Civil War reinforced, students also learned that President Lincoln is an enduring figure whose example can serve America today.

“What really resonated with the students were the words of Chief Justice Williams, who spoke to them about giving back to their country in some capacity and becoming involved Americans,” said Ms. Squillace, adding that the talks challenged the students academically and stretched their understanding of Lincoln and the Civil War.