GREEN – At least 1,000 parents, siblings and friends overflowed Green Intermediate School last week to witness the 340-member fourth-grade class bring American heroes to life as a language arts Wax Museum project.
With the hallways on two floors, the library and gymnasium jammed with student performers and spectators, the participants showed their leadership by becoming “a person of history,” both past and present.
They stood silent until someone pushed a button or strummed a guitar to bring the character to life. The characters then displayed what they had learned during months of research about their favorite hero.
The project of Language Arts teachers Michelle Hanchey, Rita Gearhart, Melissa Crossman and Amy Josef required all their students to dress similar to their character and speak from memory or script about that favorite individual.
“I’d guess we had at least 1,000 visitors for this two-hour program, maybe more,” said a beaming Principal Mark Booth.
Mrs. Hanchey, who was credited with bringing the project to her colleagues two years ago, said the school ran out of its 800 programs even before the parents, grandparents and others were released in waves from the gym to visit the characters.
“This is really amazing and such a great turnout,” said Kathy Essex, grandmother of CeCe Kestner, who was one of several who chose Amelia Earhart as her “hero.”
Grandma activated her saluting granddaughter by pushing a button and turning the character into a history chatterbox.
Many other characters were chosen by multiple students, including Elvis Presley, Earhart, Helen Keller and many more.
Noah Wiggins dazzled visitors with his escape from handcuffs and other tricks as he talked about escape artist Harry Houdini.
One of the best-dressed Elvis characters was Malea Nelson, who was decked out in big sunglasses and an outfit that made her look stunningly like Elvis despite being much shorter.
“I think he was a great singer, and he made a lot of people smile, so I thought it would be a good thing to do something different and be a girl and do it,” Malea said before the first rush of the curious.
Kayla Mazzocca stood out in the crowd because of her height and outfit portraying Harriet Tubman. She chose her character “because she helped slaves escape.”
Hope Tallman chose Taylor Swift with an outfit that let everyone know she was an entertainer. To start her talking, visitors had to strum her guitar.
Hope said she chose the singer “because I like her and her music and I knew a lot about her so I decided to do her. I also think she’d be a great role model for me.”
Holly Brown’s grandfather, Jim Crook, drove from Bath Township to witness his young relative in action as he turned her on with the push of a big button.
Holly also portrayed Earhart “because I just like airplanes. She was the first person I picked because I admire her.”
Ten-year Green teacher Mrs. Josef commented, “The students benefit from this program because they are learning how to research, using a variety of resources.”
“They are also learning to take events from someone's life and sequence them into a timeline fashion in order to report on their life, plus a very valuable lesson on public speaking,” she said.
Instructor Mrs. Gearhart stressed that “project-based learning of this nature is preparation for college/career readiness.”
Mrs. Melissa Crossman explained, “We [the language arts teachers] brainstormed how we could make it work for our students and came up with this great way to showcase them.”
“We learned so much from last year's [first] museum that we were able to fine tune this year's museum into an even better experience for our students and visitors,” she said.