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Second-graders portray historical figures at Living Wax Museum

March 1, 2019
Lori Wolfe/The Herald-Dispatch Sean Bradburn portrays Michael Jackson as he and other 2nd grade students participate in the annual "Living Wax Museum" on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, at Burlington Elementary School.

SOUTH POINT, Ohio — When Burlington Elementary School second-graders got ready for school Thursday morning, they assumed a new identity - one of a person with significant accomplishments in history so they could put on the school’s third Living Wax Museum.

Each student chose and researched one person, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or Amelia Earhart, and, in their costumes, stood perfectly still as if they were a wax figure during two performances throughout the day - one during the school day for fellow students and one in the evening for parents and families.

The second-grade teachers, who made this possible with the help of parents, said this history lesson disguised as a day to dress up also teaches the kids public speaking skills, as the students must introduce themselves to the crowd and give a short verbal presentation after the walk-through museum.

“It’s a really good way that we can incorporate so many standards that we can’t hit in the classroom every day, like speaking and listening standards and presentation standards,” said Mary Matney, a Burlington second-grade teacher.

The Living Wax Museum included Sally Ride, Stan Lee (a new addition), Barack Obama, Leonardo da Vinci and Audrey Hepburn.

Cieana Malone, 8, who was Rosie the Riveter, said her favorite part was dressing up as Rosie and learning that she had a different identity.

Courtney Tibbetts, a second-grade teacher, said when the students arrive in the classroom in the morning, everyone is excited about seeing each other’s costumes.

“It’s good to see them encouraging each other and praising each other,” Tibbetts said.

The teachers, Matney, Tibbets and Amanda Clay, said they want students to recognize that though these people went on to accomplish great things, they all came from diverse backgrounds and the students are just as capable of changing the world.

“I tell them that every one of these people that they’re portraying was at one point a second-grader just like all of them,” Clay said. “They can come from anything and be anything.”

“We want them to take on these roles to show that no matter where they come from or what obstacles they face, they can make a change,” Matney said.

Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter and Facebook@megosborneHD.