For generations of Abes, this weekend’s for you — the kickoff to Lincoln High School’s centennial jubilee.
Events are planned Saturday and Sunday to celebrate the historic school’s 100th birthday (go to lhsaatacoma.com for details). But the plan isn’t just to have fun and catch up with old friends; organizers hope to raise $100,000 toward scholarships for Lincoln seniors.
That’s a worthy goal. Many of today’s students are from low-income, single-parent families or are recent immigrants. If they are to pursue higher education, scholarship money will be invaluable.
The Abes are sure to come through for today’s students. They’ve always had strong school spirit, some of which likely could be traced to being the gritty cross-town rivals of the city’s other high school, Stadium.
Lincoln Abes have a rich history to celebrate. Work started on the school a century ago next month, with classes beginning the next year, in 1914. Soon, many of its first graduates would be marching off to war.
Many Lincoln students have gone on to distinguish themselves, including World War II ace George “Pappy” Boyington; Doolittle Raider Charles Ross Greening; bowling champ Earl Anthony; “Dune” author Frank Herbert; wrestler and football player Frank Stojack; state Lt. Gov. Brad Owen; and NFL stars Lawyer Milloy and Jon Kitna. Kitna is now a coach and math teacher at Lincoln.
The school has had some big-name visitors, too: William Jennings Bryan in 1924, presidential candidate Wendell Wilkie in 1940 and Elvis Presley in 1957.
More recently, Lincoln’s been in the news for its educational innovation. A year after a $75 million renovation was completed in 2007, the school launched Lincoln Center, a program to provide additional rigor and instruction to better prepare students hoping to attend college. It’s exactly the kind of forward thinking schools need today if their students are to compete in the global economy.
Today’s Lincoln – which draws most of its students from Tacoma’s Eastside and South End – is a rich blend of ethnicities from around the world. That diversity can present challenges, but it is also a tremendous source of strength, giving students the opportunity to experience a broad spectrum of cultures within the walls of their own school.
So happy birthday, Lincoln High. Wear the black and gold proudly, Abes. COMING SUNDAY: Read education writer Debbie Cafazzo’s story about Lincoln High School’s centennial.