Photo by Kelly White
A Living Wax Museum was held May 19 at Most Holy Redeemer School in Evergreen Park. Fifth-grade student dressed as historic figures and when called on, provided information on their lives.
Grace Curley has always loved sports and has been playing basketball for over 10 years. But the fifth grade student at Most Holy Redeemer School in Evergreen Park also believes girls can do anything they want to.
“Basketball might have only been a boys sport before, but when I think of it now, I think of it as both a boys and girls sport,” said Curley, 11, of Evergreen Park. “Girls can do anything that boys can do. I’m going to be a professional basketball player.”
But on May 19, Curley and other fifth grade students at Most Holy Redeemer provided their classmates and visitors with a sense of history. In this instance students gave a visual display of historic figures during the “Living Wax Museum.”
While Curley dreams of one day playing in the WNBA, she looks up to women who have excelled in the field of science. In this case, she said her drive comes from Sally Ride, an American physicist and astronaut. Curley portrayed Ride in the Wax Museum event, donning white clothing and holding a helmet at her side. Behind her was a poster marking many of Ride’s accomplishments.
When students, teachers or parents would come by her station in the school gym, she began reciting facts about the female astronaut. Ride joined NASA in 1978 and became the first American woman in space in 1983.
“She (Ride) is a great role model for all girls and women,” Curley said. “She did something only men were doing at the time, and she wasn’t afraid to do it. She proved that girls can be anything they want to be and do anything they want to do.”
She joined 41 other fifth-graders who dressed in costume and provided information about historic figures.
The theme of the project was “American Heroes,” dubbed by teachers Nancy Cagney and Bronwyn Azzaello. Students picked a hero from any time period they were interested in, researched their lives and personified them as a character in a living wax museum.
“They were able to pick a person that they were interested in and for their own reasons,” Azzaello said. “They really get into the characters, bringing them to life.”
Each wax figure had a box next to their poster board display. Any time a coin was dropped into the box, the students gave a two-minute speech, which they created and memorized, to each listener. They did this while dressed in full character.
The event was open to all other Most Holy Redeemer students, faculty, parents and siblings. Last year’s project gained $1,000 that was donated to the American Cancer Society. This year will be no different, according to Cagney.
“You see students come and drop in handfuls of pennies, knowing it is going to a good cause,” she said. “It’s very sweet.”
Students prepared for the project for six weeks, practicing their speeches at home and in their classrooms.
“I chose Abraham Lincoln because he is inspirational,” said MaryKate Daly, 10, of Evergreen Park. “Not only did he end slavery, he was also president. But more importantly, I chose him because even though he had a poor childhood he fought through it and still had a good life.”
“This project is a lot of fun because the student not only learns a lot, but they learn from studying a person they picked out. But they also learn a lot from each other, and even the teachers learn things, too,” Cagney said. “I think the children really enjoy it because it’s such an interactive project.”