History came alive last Thursday at Winsor Hill Elementary School as the fifth-grade students bridged the past, present and future during the school’s second annual Living Wax Museum History Fair.
The event culminated a 2½-month project for the 76 students of Mrs. Marguerite Aiello, Ms. Susan DeConte and Ms. Dionna Przybylowicz classes. Each student chose a notable historical figure to study and portray during the fair.
“They did a fabulous job. When you see the costumes and hear their memorized speeches, it’s just incredible,” said Mrs. Aiello.
Before February vacation, students were given a packet with information about the project. After their teachers approved their selections, students had to research and read an autobiography of the person they chose to represent. The assignment had multiple components, which had to be completed on a schedule as the fair drew near. Projects included creating a tri-fold backboard display, memorizing a speech and writing an essay on the topic.
“They did a wonderful job. My room was really fortunate, we’re a Lighthouse classroom, so we have one to one tech and they got to utilize that for the project,” said Ms. Przybylowicz. “They did a really amazing job. There was a lot of information they had to memorize, and they did all the research on their own. They were very much independent.”
The teachers also coordinated with the school’s art teacher, Donna Pringle, who worked with the students to produce portraits of their individual historical figures.
Georgie Cardullo chose physicist and astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, for her project. She dressed in full astronaut flight gear during the fair.
“It was a lot of fun, I really learned a lot of new stuff,” she said.
There were a few students who chose Albert Einstein as their subject to study, including Luke DaPonte, who wore an impressive white mustache and wig to get into character.
“I think it was really fun. I always wanted to know what E = mc2 meant, and now I do,” he said.
Dozens of family members attended the fair and were most impressed by the work of their and other students’ efforts.
“I think it’s incredible, she spent so much time on it, and was very vested in it, and she learned a lot from it,” said Kim Aglione, whose daughter Jamie Dewetter played Princess Diana. “Just the fact that these students got up in front of all these people at such a young age is incredible.”
Jamie added, “I learned that Princess Diana helped out so many charities. She did a lot of great work.”
Audie L. Murphy, America’s most decorated combat soldier of World War II and a movie star, was represented by Rory DeShaies, who came dressed in military fatigues and a helmet.
“I went with Audie Murphy because he got the Medal of Honor and he’s very famous,” said Rory. “He’s a great hero.”
School administrators were also taken back with the efforts of their students.
“They were phenomenal, the teachers, the kids, they were just outstanding they went above and beyond with their projects,” said Principal Michele Zarcaro. “The kids took the project and ran with it, the teacher had a lot of fun doing it, but the children just totally got engaged.”
“The fact that they learned so much in the process of doing the project means it’s a fabulous way to learn history,” said Superintendent Dr. Bernard DiLullo. These kids did their research, they know the history of the person they portrayed, and the fact that they can get up and give their speech to anyone that comes along is really fantastic.”