“Push the button and see what happens,” one attendee said to another as they came up to a motionless “wax” figure of Harriet Tubman, just one of the “exhibits” at the first-ever Live Wax Museum at Delores Moye Elementary in O’Fallon.
The fourth- and fifth-grade students at the school prepared for months, doing research and getting into character for the event Wednesday, May 10.
Hundreds of students, teachers and staff, relatives and community members walked through the school that day for a first-hand glimpse of some of the men and women who have helped to shape the nation.
“Our classes have put a lot of hard work, research, and preparation into this culminating activity, where history will come alive, right in our very own gymnasium,” said Ann Neighbors, a fifth-grade teacher at Moye.
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Students chose an American historical figure who has had a significant impact on the country, Neighbors said.
“Students have researched a famous American of their choice, prepared a biographical speech, constructed a display poster and put together a costume to represent their chosen famous American,” Neighbors said.
The event took place in two 2-hour sessions where students, teachers and staff and others mingled between booths to hear students talk about the historical figure of his or her choice.
“I think the kids have really enjoyed the project and learned a lot about each other,” Neighbors shared.
I’m proud of everyone, but I’m also proud of my kid because he really tries to get into character and understand it, and basically become it. We always teach him to not be shy, and be willing to talk to people and so I’m proud of the fact that he’s taken that to heart and he’s always trying grow personally.
Ron Wilczak, parent of Moye fifth-grader.
Ron Wilczak watched his son, Patrick, transform from a shy 10-year-old into Founding Father and inventor Benjamin Franklin.
“It’s very exciting to see all of these kids doing this,” Wilczak said. “I’m proud of everyone, but I’m also proud of my kid, because he really tries to get into character and understand it, and basically become it. We always teach him to not be shy and be willing to talk to people. So I’m proud of the fact that he’s taken that to heart and he’s always trying grow personally.”
This idea is great because it gets them excited about learning about everybody. It get’s them really involved, not just writing facts over and over and over again.
Kim Fields, parent of Moye fifth-grader.
Madalynn Fields, 10, chose to represent Susan B. Anthony, social reformer and women’s rights activist who played a pivotal role in the women’s suffrage movement.
“This idea is great, because it gets them excited about learning about everybody. It get’s them really involved, not just writing facts over and over and over again,” said Madalynn’s mother, Kim Fields. “I think it’s really helpful for each student to really fully learn about each person they’ve picked.”
Just back from playing hockey at University of Nebraska Omaha, Zach Jordan, 20, said he made sure to clear his schedule to visit his old stomping ground from his youth not just to reminisce, but to see his younger brother, Zeth Jordan, 10, give his presentation of Bill Gates, the leader of Microsoft.
This is great. I went to Moye, and I think this is a really cool concept. I like that it’s more open to present-day American historical figures too, not just the past.
Zach Jordan, older brother of Moye fifth-grader.
“This is great. I went to Moye, and I think this is a really cool concept. I like that it’s more open to present-day American historical figures, too, not just the past,” Jordan said.
Many attendees made comments to teachers and staff about how impressive the projects were, including the costumes and the concept of pushing a button on the table to bring the character alive, Neighbors said.