Student recited famous speech

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In 1900, my uncle Sherman graduated at the age of 15 from what was then called a common school.

The whole family traveled five miles by horse and buggy to the county park, where the ceremony was to be held.

Graduations were a big event in those days. All the one-room schools combined their graduating classes into one ceremony.

For the first time, a valedictorian was being selected, and my uncle was the one who received the honor.

Uncle Sherman had no idea he was supposed to give a speech until the audience began to chant, “Speech. Speech.” So, he reluctantly approached the podium and began to recite the Gettysburg Address – the only speech he had ever learned. When he was finished, he received a standing ovation.

Uncle Sherman was grateful to Abraham Lincoln for coming to his rescue that day.

Monrovia, Ind.