Carver Kindergarten Teacher Frank Runkle as President Theodore Roosevelt, Friday, Feb.18.
Since 1971, when President Nixon combined the nationally-celebrated birthday anniversaries of Presidents Washington and Lincoln, Americans have celebrated President’s Day on the third Monday in Feb. The holiday serves as a tribute to both revered presidents and all other individuals who have served as commander-in-chief throughout America’s 235-year history.
The holiday brings commemorative sales and a three-day weekend for many workers and school children.
To help connect kindergartners at G.W. Carver Elementary to the presidential history celebrated today, St. Mary’s County Public Schools teacher Frank Runkles “became” twenty-sixth U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.
Runkles explained, “This is one of my most favorite days to teach about.” He said he has donned the Roosevelt costume for the past few years as part of his lessons about President’s Day.
On Friday, his class compared the heights of Lincoln, Washington, Obama and James Madison. He said his students seem to enjoy him dressing-up and standing next to the life-sized pictures of the presidents he made.
SMCPS Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano showed his appreciation for this one example of extraordinary teaching, telling TheBAYNET.com, “ "We are very fortunate to have so many outstanding and wonderful teachers in St. Mary's County Public Schools who go the extra mile, every day, to provide creative, rich and engaging instruction that is designed to ensure that every child learns to their fullest potential.”
As much recent news has centered around shrinking public school budgets and teachers’ benefits, Martirano expresses pride in the highly-qualified teachers instructing the county’s kids. “Our teachers are so focused to make sure that every child graduates from high school so they will be college-ready and career-ready. Teachers come to work, each day, using a myriad of strategies to reach every child. Our teachers are simply the best and I am in awe of their talents and creativity," he said.
So, of all the great presidents in history, why did Runkles choose Roosevelt?
“Teddy Roosevelt has always been an interesting person and president to me,” Runkles said.
Roosevelt was president from 1901 to 1909 and three years after his presidency was quoted as saying, “This country will not be a permanently good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a reasonably good place for all of us to live in."