History relived at IC wax museum
By Kelly Terpstra, email@example.com
It may be hard for some people to spell, let alone pronounce, the name of Milwaukee Bucks basketball superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
That’s why you’ll see many polished experts on hoops stick to his nickname – “The Greek Freak.”
Myles Tjaden had no problem rattling off the name in front of attentive audience members at Immaculate Conception School’s wax museum come to life on Thursday afternoon.
Fifth- and sixth-grade students at the Catholic elementary school had roughly two weeks to complete research on a famous politician, athlete or any historical figure that has made a notable contribution to society in say the last 500 years or so. The research was part of a graded class project where students chose to learn about the biographies of influential authors, doctors and even actresses.
All visitors had to do to hear the famous person’s life story was push a “button” and they came to life right before their eyes in the IC gymnasium.
Teachers Cari Barry, Stephani Barry and Joel Boyer set the guidelines for students to plan their presentations. Cari Barry said students were given a research template and had to come up with five paragraphs about certain chronological aspects of the celebrated person’s life.
“They love doing it. This year we let them choose. We didn’t even have any kind of theme,” she said. “This ranks right up there with Field Day and their birthday. It’s pretty cool, because they put a lot of work into it.”
Tjaden chose Myles Horton last year as a fifth-grader. Horton was an educator who contributed to the civil rights movement in the mid-20th century. That selection had to stay in line with the civil rights theme last year. Plus, Tjaden said Horton rose to the top of his list because he had the same first name as Tjaden did.
This year it was all about basketball.
Tjaden is a small forward and plays on the Charles City Comet basketball travel squad. He said he has been a Bucks fan for four years and loves watching the incredible dunks and the aerobatic skill of Antetokounmpo flying over defenders on the hardwood.
“He just makes really cool highlights and stuff. It’s fun to watch,” said Tjaden.
This is the third year IC has put on the wax museum presentations and Cari Barry said 53 kids participated in the projects.
The idea started in 2018 with former IC teacher Kim Huff. Last year was the first time the wax museum was acted out by students in front of a public audience in the gymnasium.
Many students dress as the characters and celebrities they’re talking about.
Elijah Franklin, an IC sixth-grader, wore boxing gloves as he spoke about Muhammad Ali.
“I like to watch boxing. It’s fun to me,” said Franklin.
Fifth-grader Emma Schmitt wore a period correct pioneer dress that resembled what was worn in the late 19th century in the town of Walnut Grove, Minnesota, by a family that avid readers know all too well – the Ingalls.
The Ingalls inspired the book “Little House on the Prairie” – written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The series of books also helped launch the successful TV series of the same name.
“I’ve read the whole series,” said Schmitt, who then proceeded to give a group of about 10 audience members a history lesson on her chosen subject.
Ingalls, who chronicled her family’s story in the book series, lived in many places, most notably Minnesota. She would eventually succumb to diabetes, like several of her siblings, Schmitt said.
“She moved there when her family moved there to try to get better wheat, but the grasshoppers ate it before they could harvest it. So the last place they moved was De Smet, South Dakota,” Schmitt informed the audience that patiently listened to her presentation.
Ethan Crawford, another sixth-grader, chose famed aviation groundbreaker Amelia Earhart.
“She was the first person that came to my mind,” said Crawford.
Mysteriously, Earhart disappeared in 1937 just weeks before her 40th birthday over the central Pacific Ocean in an attempt to fly around the globe. She was never seen again.
“I’m guessing she went in the ocean because they could never find her,” said Crawford.
Ana Tutu, who was doing her project for the first time as a fifth-grader, picked civil rights activist Rosa Parks.
Tutu said she liked doing the research on her subject.
“You can find out things that maybe you never found out before,” said Tutu. “I knew that she was someone who was fighting for freedom for the black people because everyone was segregated.”
Tutu’s friend, fellow fifth-grader Joselyn Ibarra, wore an outfit in honor of her celebrity presentation, Emma Watson. Watson is the British actress that played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series. J.K. Rowling wrote the books and Tutu said that Ibarra has the eighth Harry Potter book – “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”
The IC wax museum once again brought out a little magic for all to see, hear and perhaps most importantly – learn something along the way.
“We’ll do it every year,” said Cari.