SPRING HILL — Every year, for about the last 25 years, Wider Horizons School directors Domenick and Julie Maglio estimate, their students have celebrated a biography fair. The school is now in its 28th year.
The biography fair is popular with students and their visiting parents and friends as each child chooses a historical figure to research and study. The students present their character in costume to judges and later show what they have learned.
"This year the biography fair is for American history," said Julie Maglio. "This gives a focus on history in a very enjoyable way."
She added that the students don't just learn about the person they choose. While listening to each other, they learn about other figures.
Parents, community members and some older students (juniors and seniors who take Pasco-Hernando Community College dual enrollment classes) are the judges. They provide written critiques and all the students get participation ribbons.
Sophomore Andrew Patel, 15, said he has been in numerous biography fairs. He has portrayed activist and leader Gandhi and Presidents John Adams, John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt. His favorite was FDR, but he said, "I also liked Gandhi, 'cause he's a powerful character."
Sophomore Jeremy Holgado, 15, portrayed inventor John Moses Browning, who had more than 128 patents and was famous for the Browning automatic rifle. He has also played astronomer Edwin Hubble, industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and Abraham Lincoln, his favorite. "I was fun to do the speech, the hat, costume and beard," he said.
Kingsley Cleveland was the only senior in the fair. He attends PHCC like the other juniors and seniors, but the college no longer offers world history and Wider Horizons requires it for graduation. The other students had already taken it, so Kingsley takes that one class back at the school. He was dressed as Grover Cleveland, who holds the distinction of serving as both the 22nd and 24th president of the United States.
Ryan Dupuis, 11, is a fifth-grader who has only been at Wider Horizons since mid September. He was dressed as John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States and the son of the second U.S. president, John Adams. "It was a lot of work," he said, "but it was fun."