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Published: Wednesday, 5/9/2007

7th graders turn wax museum into live history re-enactments

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
First graders Emma-Lee Segura, left, and Grace Hittler, both 7, seem a little unsure about their encounter with Walt Disney as portatryed by David Cassavar, 13. First graders Emma-Lee Segura, left, and Grace Hittler, both 7, seem a little unsure about their encounter with Walt Disney as portatryed by David Cassavar, 13.
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As Babe Ruth continues chasing Steve Irwin because he stole his baseball bat, the pair pass John Wayne getting captured by Elvis Presley with his own lasso.

But the celebrities - portrayed by seventh graders at All Saints School - quickly stop goofing around and sprint back to their places when they see that another class has arrived to hear their abbreviated life stories.

First grader Ezra Baden, 8, casts a wary look at Casey Horn, 13, who portrays Elvis Presley. First grader Ezra Baden, 8, casts a wary look at Casey Horn, 13, who portrays Elvis Presley.
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When they get back to where they're supposed to be, the 23 seventh graders attempt to sit or stand perfectly still around the gym as part of the school's second annual Living Wax Museum.

They're told to remain motionless until the younger students come up to them and press a button to make the historical figures "come to life" and talk about the events that shaped their lives.

As part of their literature class, all seventh graders were given free rein to study a historical figure who has passed away so they could educate the entire school on whomever they chose to impersonate, seventh-grade teacher Carol Gutierrez said.

Paige Trojanowski, 13, as Ginger Rogers puts on a show for Emma Boney,6 Paige Trojanowski, 13, as Ginger Rogers puts on a show for Emma Boney,6
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Their jobs were to explain important facts about the celebrities, including birth date and death date, and several interesting stories about that person to students in other grades who trickled into the gym during the afternoon event.

Most had elaborate costumes that they either rented from a costume shop, bought at second-hand stores, or helped their parents make, Ms. Gutierrez said.

"There's a couple of them who have kicked it up on notch and done extra work," she said, pointing to a student portraying Emily Dickinson who was reciting some of her poetry from memory. "It's pretty incredible."

Several of the male students opted to portray well-known singers, including Johnny Cash, John Lennon, and Elvis.

Many females chose to dress up like glamorous celebrities, like Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Ginger Rogers, Vivien Leigh, and Fanny Brice.

Dressed in a black polka-dotted dress, high heels, and a white feather boa, Paige Trojanowski, 13, said she chose to impersonate Rogers because the celebrity shared her love of acting and dancing.

Through her research, she said she was surprised to learn that Rogers and Fred Astaire were never a serious item, even though they were each other's romantic interest and dancing partners in a series of Hollywood films.

Olivia Boney, 12, said she chose to portray Anne Frank because she's wanted to know more about her ever since she learned about her in social studies class.

"I read her diary twice," she said, proudly, adding that before her research, she assumed that Frank had only been to one concentration camp, not several.

After going to as many celebrities as he could while permitted to be down in the gym, second-grader Cameron Hinojosa, 8, said he liked learning about celebrities he had never heard of.

"It's cool because some of these people I don't know," he said, pointing to Mark Twain and John Lennon.

But he said he most enjoyed the crocodile hunter.

"My favorite was Steve Irwin because his was probably the only show I watched on the Animal Planet," he said. "Some of the people I do know and want to hear their stories again. It will help me when I'm in seventh grade."



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