SPRING HILL — Fourth-grader Alyssa Layton recently spent a day at school wearing a big, white wig and a flowing gown.
The 10-year-old wasn't stretching the limits of acceptable school fashion. She was one of about 180 Wider Horizon School students who dressed as historical characters for the annual Biography Fair on Halloween. Alyssa was portraying Marie Antoinette.
The students prepared oral presentations for judges and visitors who requested them. The event "enhances the learning of history," said Julie Maglio, who runs the school with her husband, Dr. Domenick Maglio.
The event is part of the academic program and the students are graded. They choose significant historical characters, researched them and planned their costumes and presentations.
Wider Horizons is a Montessori school in the early grades and focuses on college preparation in later grades.
"It's a very academic program,'' Julie Maglio said. "We have very high standards. We demand a lot of students and they do very well. We expect them to do well at school."
Besides Marie Antoinette, some other depictions were Anne Boleyn (junior Samantha Pippinger, 16), Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (eighth-grader Madison Jones, 13), Cyrus the Great (sophomore Conor Zhang, 15) and Nikola Tesla (eighth-grader Charles Watson, 13).
Junior Ariana Bond, 15, is a full-time dual-enrollment student at Pasco-Hernando Community College. She was at Wider Horizons for this event, though not in the capacity of a presenter.
"I was asked to be a judge and I thought it would be nice to be on the other side of the coin," she said.
Junior Aarish Hasan, 15, is another dual-enrollment student asked to come back and judge. He remembered how it felt to be one of the presenters when he did the project.
"I was very easy on them," he said.