President Abraham Lincoln Elementary School is one of six elementary schools in the Roosevelt Complex, located in Honolulu, Hawaii. Although it is now located at the foot of Punchbowl, Lincoln Elementary was originally located a few blocks away, next to Thomas Square. “In 1923 when McKinley High School was moved to a larger campus, the building it occupied (next to the Art Academy) was renamed Lincoln. And from 1923 to 1957, it served as the main elementary school in Honolulu. In 1957 a new school was built for Lincoln at its current location in Punchbowl.” (Robert M. Fox and David Cheever, Honolulu Star Advertiser, March 01, 2015) The school serves preschool to fifth grade children from Kewalo, Punchbowl, Tantalus, Makiki and the surrounding Hawaiian Homesteads of Papakolea and Kalawahine.
Like the school building, the residential neighborhood surrounding the school was relocated as well. James Gonser, of the Star Advertiser wrote, “In the late 1800s, many Hawaiians were displaced from their land in the rural parts of O'ahu and crowded into downtown tenements in search of work, according to state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands records.” Several of those Hawaiian families moved onto public lands above Punchbowl crater looking for a healthy, self-sufficient life. They created the first neighborhood of Papakolea. Papakolea today is a 27-acre homestead with 391 homes and about 1,500 residents near the entrance to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The community was added to the Hawaiian Homestead Act in 1934. The act provides for awarding Hawaiian home lands for homestead purposes to eligible applicants who are "Native Hawaiian." That's defined as someone who has no less than 50 percent Hawaiian ancestry and who is at least 18 years old.” Puni Kekauoha from Kula No Nā Po‘e Hawai‘i, added that, although the majority of the families that relocated to Papakolea were Native Hawaiian a few Portuguese and other ethnicities were also present and continue to live in Papakolea. This small group of tightly knit families grew the community to what it is now. The Papakolea community organization continues to foster the idea of “ohana” and fights to preserve the vision that their kupuna believed in. This connection to their Hawaiian roots has helped them to thrive and prosper. However, like all communities, they are not immune from the challenges of multi-generational living, poverty, health issues, and abuse. This trend of displacement, movement, and perseverance to rebuild prevails throughout our school history. It underscores not only our school population, but also our beliefs and practices as well.
Lincoln School's Vision:
All Lincoln School students will be lifelong learners who are literate, caring and responsible citizens that Aspire to Inspire.
Lincoln School's Mission:
To provide a nurturing environment and a strong foundation for lifelong learning with high expectations that fosters:
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