LINCOLN’S ROUTE – CHAPTER I

It was hard for them to believe it. The students observed in certain awe that log cabin. Even though it wasn’t the original house, it called their attention that it barely had space for a bed, a bathroom and maybe a small kitchen. Never did they imagine that they were in front of where Abraham Lincoln was born. One of the students who were there, Alfonso Pinto (9th B, Lo Barnechea), summarizes this impression. “The life of Lincoln is a reflection of what they say: if you dream it, it is possible. Lincoln came out of a small cabin and from there on he became the 16th President of the United States.”

It was the beginning of the school’s traditional tour to take a closer look at the life and work of Abraham Lincoln. The 22 high school students were joined by the Headmaster John Seaquist, Miss Ilse Altermatt, two Latitud 90 guides and one local guide, between August 15th and August 24th. To get to that starting point, everyone first got together in Lo Barnechea campus to head for Santiago’s airport, where they took a flight to Dallas.

“Run! Run!” Sir John Seaquist tried to hurry them up. After a 10 hour trip from Chile the students were running to catch a flight in a terminal of Dallas’ airport. In immigration control they had spent over 40 minutes.

Very few understood at the moment that Vicente Torres (9th B, Chicureo) brought with him the same backpack he always used at school. “They would stop him at every airport. He had staples, but they couldn’t find those staples. So then they’d check him over and over again and we would lose a lot of time”, tells his classmate Javiera Fernández (9th B, Chicureo). They managed to get to the boarding gate just to see how their flight to Nashville was leaving without them. They had missed it.

Nevertheless, little did this seem to discourage the newly formed group: the mission and objectives were still intact. “To follow the path and life of Lincoln, of the man in which the school carries his name and my father was inspired in is something very important”, explains Sir John.

They were lucky enough to catch a plane to Nashville an hour later. Afterwards they took a bus to Hodgenville, in the state of Kentucky. It was in this town where the students could see and visit the sites that commemorate the first years of the ex-president, like Knob Creek or the First Lincoln Memorial. Finally, they left off for Louisville, spending their first night in this thrilling journey after a long day.

The route continued to Springfield. Everyone remembers how especially hot it was that day. Regardless of the scorching sun and how humid it was, the bus that was taking them had the air conditioner out of service. On top of this, after 20 minutes of leaving the gas station they had stopped by on the way, Carlota Garibaldi (9th A, Lo Barnechea) found out that something was missing. “I suddenly heard her say that she had lost her mobile phone and the trip to Springfield was like of 4 hours. In searching for the phone, starting all over again and the scorching heat…no, no, in that moment we wanted to kill her!” remembers Javiera Fernández (9th B, Chicureo) with laughter.

“We had already taken the highway and from there on you had to wait a while to return since there were no exits nearby” adds, Miss Ilse Altermatt. The bus driver, who was having some gummy bears from the 1 kg bag he had, gave them a mean look.

Luckily for Carlota, she found her phone on top of the gas station’s bathroom sink, although it wouldn’t be the last time that she’d lose her mobile phone during this Lincoln’s Route.

Once they got off the bus in Springfield there was a certain relief. “We arrived all sweaty, we were burning up”, confesses Sir John. None of that stopped the students from discovering and being amazed by Lincoln’s tomb and the museum dedicated to commemorate and show his life.

“We realized that with this trip one pays a tribute to the name of the school, and starts noticing the difference between what is seen in classes and what is seen in these places”,  reveals Rodrigo Meza (9th B, Chicureo).

“Lincoln’s tomb was very pretty and it’s where almost all his family is buried. I think that everyone in different ways connected with that place because that tomb speaks for itself”, explains Josefa Viotti (10th A, Lo Barnechea).

After this special visit, Lincoln’s Route continued to Chicago…