Most second-graders have never heard of Virginia Apgar. However, Vincenza Fallon is quite aware that Apgar was a pediatric physician who created the Apgar scoring system for newborns. Vincenza, 8, shared that information recently with visitors who came to Winding Waters K-8 School to see second-grade teacher Josephine Maher's Star Wax Museum of Significant People. Eighteen costumed students stood in a semicircle and delivered rehearsed snippets about historical figures they had chosen.
"This is a wax museum; the children stand like a statue, as they will only speak when their button is pushed. This project will help them with many areas, as well as effective speaking well into the higher grades," Maher said.
The museum "is actually the culminating activity once lots of learning has taken place," Maher continued. "It is not merely memorizing lines and then presenting them. Our class covers many state-mandated standards along the way."
The students learn not just about the people they researched individually; as they practice their presentations, they also learn about each other's subjects.
Kaneah King, 8, studied and was dressed as Harriet Tubman. She was standing next to Georgia Johns, dressed as Clara Barton. Kaneah knows a lot about Harriet Tubman, who she said "was a great person and freed slaves." Kaneah also knows that "Clara Barton made the American Red Cross."
Kyle Parker, 7, dressed as Winslow Homer.
"I learned that he made his paintings look realistic," Kyle said.
Kyle's father, Marc Parker, 32, walked the line of characters and said, "It's pretty impressive the way they have the kids out here."
He said the children memorized their information and he saw no one stumble.
Parker also said he learned things right along with the children. Of Apgar, he said: "She was a doctor who was caring for infants and was responsible for saving a lot of babies' lives."
He also found out a thing or two about Homer, the character his son researched.
"I learned that he was a sketch artist in the Civil War and did a lot of the Civil War drawings," he said.
Sherry LeClair has no connection to the school, except for being a neighbor to Maher.
"I've lived here three years, and this is the third time I've come to the wax museum, and I love them," she said. "It's absolutely amazing what the teacher can get these children to do. They're so eager and enthusiastic."
The museum lineup included: Corbin Blevins as Thomas Jefferson, Justin Boyle as James Madison, Keelan Brannan as Abraham Lincoln, Landon Byington as George Washington, Teniyah Derival as Rosa Parks, Richard Engley as Neil Armstrong, Nikolas Essig as Alexander Graham Bell, Vincenza Fallon as Virginia Apgar, Trinity Garrison as Amelia Earhart, Andrew Herrin as Henry Ford, Georgia Johns as Clara Barton, Kaneah King as Harriet Tubman, Joseph Pace as John F. Kennedy, Kyle Parker as Winslow Homer, Adriana Rodriguez as Betsy Ross, Trinity Street as Susan B. Anthony, Breanna Strickland as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Austin Webster as Orville Wright.