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Wax museum comes to life

S. Ray Lowder Elementary School became a chaotic scene of famous historical figures and modern day heroes on Wednesday afternoon.
Third-grade students in the school’s “wax museum” put on costumes and belted out biographies to anyone who wanted to listen.
“I think it’s a great experience,” said Emily Whitener, an exceptional children’s teacher at the school. “They’ve learned a lot about who they are and a lot about making speeches.”
The students sat in large semi-circles in three separate classrooms, silent until the crayon red button at their desk was pressed.
After a viewer pressed the button, the children jumped to life.
Each student was able to pick who they represented. Choices varied from Ben Franklin to the inventor of Hershey’s chocolate to Maya Angelou.
The race and sex of a student had little impact on who they chose to be.
“I like to play soccer,” said Chris Sandoval when explaining why he chose Mia Hamm.
Chris’ costume was pretty simple – all he had to do was put on his soccer uniform. Other students had a more difficult time.
When third-grader Matthew Cape dressed as Mark Twain, he was almost swallowed up by his own costume.
“I had to dress up in my Dad’s clothes,” he said.
Even his bow tie looked enormous.
Jimmy Hareison also received help from his father. The two had put together a plastic wrap helmet that completed his Neil Armstrong attire.
Creating costumes wasn’t the only work the students had to do. They were also required to create a poster on their biographical subject, have two props and write their own speeches.
The speeches caused a bit of anxiety among the third-graders.
“A lot of them have their speech memorized, but they’re using their cards anyway, so they don’t look at the audience,” said teacher Jennifer Sieracki.
The childrens’ audience was largely made up fellow students. Teachers and parents also came by to view the wax museum.
“It’s chaotic, but I still think a lot of information is being given,” said Whitener.
Many students viewing the exhibit were not familiar with the famous faces. Melissa Cordell, a second grade student, named Rosa Parks as her favorite subject.
“She’s the only one I’ve known so far,” she said.
Also included in the exhibit were a multitude of George Washingtons, Sitting Bulls and Harriet Tubmans.
Devan Abernethy chose to go off the beaten path and represent Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross.
“I want to be like her because I want to help people,” she said.
Like all the other students, whenever the red button on her desk was pressed, Abernethy jumped to life, giving biographical information.
Most of the time the lesson was successful.
“I learned stuff,” said Seth Robins, a second-grade student. “It’s loud, but fun.”

S. Ray Lowder Elementary School student J.R. Bowden holds his wax figure pose as Squanto. Chris Dean / LTN Photoby Sarah Grano

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