History comes to life at Holy Redeemer School

Photo by Karin Elton Annabel Coudron sits still while portraying Laura Ingalls Wilder during Holy Redeemer School’s annual wax museum event. When someone pushes a replica of a button, she will give the person a brief history of her life.

MARSHALL — Community members and fellow students got an instant history lesson at the push of button Thursday morning at Holy Redeemer School.

The fifth-grade’s annual biographical wax museum event took place in the gym in which 29 students learned about, dressed up as, and memorized biographical tidbits of their favorite historical figure.

For instance Brennen Thooft told a younger student that his name was “Milton Hershey and I was born in Sept. 13, 1857, in Derry Township, Pennsylvania. Before I was successful, my candy shops failed, but I kept trying. My first successful company was the Lancaster Caramel Company, which I later sold for one million dollars. I used this money to start my new company, Hershey’s, which made affordable chocolate with milk. The first Hershey’s milk chocolate bar was sold in 1900 for only five cents.”

In addition to a poster, Thooft had an assortment of Hershey products on display.

The students started the project last month, said fifth-sixth grade language and writing teacher Zach Coquyt.

“I introduced the project to the students on March 11,” Coquyt said. “After a day of brainstorming and discussions about potential historical figures, they selected a historical figure they were interested in and began researching. It was a multi-step project filled with deadlines, outlines, checklists, and much work inside the classroom. The students created a five-paragraph essay, wrote a short speech, created a poster, and finally presented to the entire school and family.”

At the wax museum, there were quite a few sports figures including Pittsburgh Steeler defensive lineman L.C. Greenwood.

“I was born on September 8, 1946,” Leyton Wherry said. “I was part of the Steel Curtain and was a six-time Pro Bowl player. I was waiting to be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but unfortunately kidney failure caused my death at September 29, 2013.”

Levi Maeyaert, who portrayed Louis Zamperini, a World War II hero and Olympian, told a group of second-graders a bit about himself including “When I was in World War II, my plane crashed and I was at sea for 47 days before being taken captive by the Japanese.”

There were also many historical figures who fought for women’s rights including Susan B. Anthony.

“In 1872 I voted for president which was against the law for women at the time,” Maddy Carrow said. “I was fined $100, but never paid it. I devoted my life to women’s rights, but women couldn’t vote until 1920, 14 years after I died.”

After her speech Carrow gave out voting stickers to the younger students.

Abigail Foley chose Eleanor Roosevelt to learn about because “she helped a lot of people.” She told community members and fellow students that “I worked at a restaurant during World War I. I also worked as a nurse for Red Cross. I fought for civil and women’s rights. I was married to Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd president.”

Foley got her costume from her mom and grandma such as a fascinator-type hat, pearls, and a fur stole that was draped around her shoulders.

Coquyt said the students were responsible for getting their costumes together.

“Costumes were completely done at home with the help of parents and guardians,” he said. “The students were not graded on their costumes. The requirements were to spend as little money as possible, be creative, and have fun. The dressing up in costumes was one of the more enjoyable aspects of this presentation.”