Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School hosted historical figures on February 24 for its first living wax museum. Students at all grade levels were asked to study a famous person they were interested in and write a short report based on their research.
To share what they learned, students portrayed the figure at school-wide events that blended story and performance. Primary classes had the morning slot, while intermediate classes occurred in the afternoon. Because this is the first year, with COVID-19 regulations in place, parents could not attend, but Director Kevin Jackson and staff will talk about the pros and cons and further develop the event for the future. .
Jackson said he and Jenifer’s staff are looking for ways to showcase the school’s diversity and encourage students to learn more about themselves and others. “We’re always looking for diverse opportunities that allow students to see themselves and be proud of who they are,” Jackson said.
Students have portrayed contemporary artists like HER, Dwayne Johnson, and Zendaya, politicians like Condoleezza Rice, Kamala Harris, and Barack Obama, astronauts Frederick Douglas and Mae Jemison, and athletes like Venus and Serena Williams, and LeBron James. Year three student Ayjae Williams had to change her plan at the last minute. “I was supposed to be Barack Obama, but I forgot my suit at home,” he said. The show must go on and that’s when fifth grade teacher Pam Hillary had an idea. She was holding a book for him while he read a poem by Maya Angelou. Students from each year walked the halls and “started” the performance by tapping on a light puck at the foot of each performer.
“It’s amazing,” said Kate Shanbarger, librarian. “Children have had to take charge of their own learning and that makes a difference.” Students learned new facts and appreciated the effort put into the program by their peers. “I love it,” sophomore Ryleigh Posadas told Shanbarger as she wandered from artist to artist.