HARRELLS — Third-grade teacher at Harrells Christian Academy, Lisa Turlington, looks forward every year to seeing which significant figures from American history her students will choose to study for the annual Wax Museum project.
“It could be anyone from John Adams to Johnny Unitas to John Deere,” she says. “The choice depends on what interests them.”
This year’s students spent weeks researching their person’s life and accomplishments, writing and memorizing a two-minute speech, and preparing a costume and display board. Recently, 20 figures from the pages of history books arrived at HCA and stood at attention in the third-grade classroom.
Babe Ruth was there, and Milton Hershey, and Pocahontas, and Andrew Carnegie. Sandra Day O’Connor was there, and Alexander Hamilton, and Bart Starr, and Sarah Palin. North Carolina Senator Wendell Murphy was there, along with Dr. Jonas Salk, Jim Thorpe, Shirley Temple, Eli Whitney, Elvis Presley, Sacagawea, Bear Bryant, Walt Disney, Clara Barton, Bethany Hamilton, and Annie Oakley. Each had a paper button on the desk beside them, and all morning long, whenever it was pressed by one of the many visitors streaming through, the figure came to life and recited their life story in two minutes or less.
“I think I said my speech at least 40 times,” said Windsor Farrior, who played Shirley Temple. “It was exhausting but fun.”
At the end of the morning, the formal costumes were exchanged for everyday school clothes and the display boards were taken down. What remained of the 2018 third-grade wax museum was the knowledge inside each student’s head and the excitement about learning, and living American history.