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VIDEO: Students become history-makers

Monday, Mar. 3 | By Hannah Dellinger
Steve Jobs and Davy Crockett had a conversation as Jayden Curtis reads his Wax Museum presentation to 2nd grade classmate Johnathan Reynolds.
Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Second graders from Mary Walter Elementary School morphed into representations of influential figures in American history last Friday afternoon.

The students dressed up as famous Americans that have had a positive impact on society, creating an imaginary wax museum in their classrooms for parents and other students to enjoy.

“It helps them to see the difference between famous and a famous American that helped to make a contribution,” said Doreen Garvey, a second grade teacher at Mary Walter. “I had some students pick football players, and yes they’re famous, but did they do something positive? So, they had to go back and find somebody who made a change.”

Garvey said that each year the second graders get to pick which famous American they would like to represent, with some helpful guidance from the teachers.

“We would write down three people that we would like to be and Ms. Garvey would chose which one we get to be,” said Jayden Curtis, one of Garvey’s students. “Steve Jobs was my top choice. I looked him up and I liked him the most.”

The students then research their subjects at home, create a poster board with interesting posted to it and dress up as the person that they learned about. The children then pretend to be a wax figure of their famous American, and when a visitor presses a cardboard button on their desk, they recite what they have done for the country.

Curtis, who was dressed in a costume that replicated Job’s iconic black turtleneck and coke-bottle glasses, said that he thoroughly enjoyed the project.

“Creating my poster was my favorite part,” said Curtis. “It was also the hardest part.”

Clarke Wright, another second grader at Mary Walter, researched Sally Ride for her project.

“I chose Sally Ride, because she was the first American woman to go to space,” said Wright.

Wright was dressed in a shiny silver space suite and showed off the project board that her parents helped her create. Wright said that her father made the Styrofoam space ship and planet that hung from the board with wires, and she decorated the rest with paint and glitter.

Asya Thomas, also a second-grader, portrayed James Durham, the first African-American doctor.
“I chose him, because he had good doctor skills,” said Thomas. “My favorite part was dressing up today.”

The wax museum exercise is also a great way to introduce the students to speaking in public.

“Throughout their life they’re going to have to do public speaking,” said Garvey. “We find that this is a good way to start it out for them, so that they can get used to speaking in front of a group.”

Garvey said that the project is something that the students enjoy doing every year.

“The kids look forward to coming into second grade, because they get to come from kindergarten and first grade and see it, and they’re looking forward to doing it when they get to second grade,” said Garvey.

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