South Orangetown Central School District

Cottage Lane Elementary School third-graders transformed into Katherine Johnson, Dr. Seuss, Nelson Mandela and other figures they admire for the annual Wax Museum this morning. The project is a culmination of biographical research by students–an opportunity to dive deeper into a subject of personal interest.

“Katherine Johnson was a mathematician and did calculations for Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Alan Shepard,” explained Brielle C. “I chose her because she’s a very strong woman and she helped astronauts go to space.”

Parent Kelly Rivera said that the experience was particularly meaningful for her son, Cristian. “Kids pick people they look up to and at first, my son wanted to do a sports figure. But then, he decided to do Barack Obama. It was a little boring at first, but as he did more reading and research, my son discovered exciting things that President Obama had done–like winning the Nobel Peace Prize–and told me that he wanted to be president,” she recalled. “It’s an amazing project.”

Inspiration is what it’s all about, according to teacher Sunita Hill. “The importance is to teach kids that school is more than reading and writing–it can take you to another level. They become immersed in the life of someone extraordinary and it stretches them out of their comfort zone. The Wax Museum is an experience they’ll remember forever. I have students who come back years later and tell me how they were influenced by their Wax Museum project,” she said.

More photos on Facebook.

Student dressed as Katherine Johnson with trifold presentation board