Bringing history to life
NEH?students create living wax museum
BLAIRSBURG –History came alive at Northeast Hamilton Elementary School on Thursday night at the second annual Living Wax Museum.
Introduced last year by 4th – 6th Grade Reading and Title I teacher Laura Seiser, this year’s students have been working on the project since the beginning of the second semester.
“These kids have worked incredibly hard all the month of January,” said Seiser.
Students first chose their subject in December and then in January the real work began, said Seiser. They researched their subject, wrote a biography of that person, drew a portrait, and established a timeline of their life. They designed a tri-fold display that included the biography and a timeline of their subject’s life. Students were also required to make a hand-drawn portrait of their person along with a copy of a professional portrait of their subject. They could also provide creative artwork or props that reflected their subject’s career.
After that stage was completed, the students developed a story to tell during the oral presentation, along with period costumes for the event.
“This night encompasses all the standards of literacy,” said Seiser, who explained that the students incorporated reading, writing, critical thinking and oral presentation in developing their portion of the program.
Guests strolled the halls of NEH where they were able to learn of many celebrated figures from the past and present.
Sport legends included Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali and three-time gold medalist women’s professional beach volleyball player Misty Mae Treanor.
The tech industry was represented by Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and Samsung founder Daniel-Lee-Chul.
Political figures included presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama. From the other side of the pond, Queen Elizabeth I represented English royalty.
Social justice activists included Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and El Salvador’s Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero, who fought against poverty, social injustice and torture in San Salvador and who was assassinated in 1980 as he conducted Mass.
Entertainers old and new included pianist and composer Ludwig Van Beethoven, Wild West Show sure shoot Annie Oakley and Rock and Roll’s King, Elvis Presley.
Inventors included: Thomas Edison, who lit up the world; chocolatier, businessman and philanthropist Milton Hershey; Alexander Graham Bell who invented the telephone; and Dr. Temple Grandin, an autistic Colorado State professor who designed an innovative cattle chute.
Representing both invention and art, the Living Wax Museum included portrayals of Walt Disney, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.
Scientific explorers, pioneers in medicine and mathematicians included: Albert Einstein, the author of the Theory of Relativity; astronaut Mae Jamison who was the first black woman in space; NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson Goble whose calculations were essential to formulating orbital mechanics in early space flight; Florence Nightengale, an English woman who attended to the wounded during the Crimean War and was the founder of modern nursing; and astronaut and biochemistry researcher Peggy Whitson.
Additional portrayals included aviation adventurer Amelia Earhart, cartoonist and writer Raina Telgemeier, and animal behavioral researchers Dian Fossey and Steve Irwin.
Ordinary people whose extraordinary efforts made them heroes included: Capt. Chesley Sullenberger whose forced landing of a jet airliner in the Hudson River was labeled the “Miracle on the Hudson”; Molly Williams, a former slave and station house cook who became NYFD’s first female firefighter when she earned praise and recognition for her service as a New York firefighter during the blizzard of 1818 when a flu outbreak diminished the ranks of the city’s fire department; and Juliette Gordon Low who founded the Girl Scouts of America.
“The speeches these kids are giving – they go on and on,” said Seiser, as strains of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” drifted through the halls. “I don’t think I could memorize that much information. I am amazed – the composure which they display is really remarkable.”