This month, the halls of the Winchester School were transformed into a walk through history.
On June 6, 52 5th-graders donned costumes to take on the roles of important people from the past and present for the school’s annual “Living Wax Museum.” This is the third year the school has hosted the event to showcase students’ research projects, according to writing teacher Brenna Iselin.
It began as a way to make an annual research paper assignment more engaging and interactive, she said.
“They could pick their person, and then with them knowing that eventually they’re going to become the person and share what they’ve learned with the school, that might have them a little bit more interested and engaged in the project,” Iselin said.
The students spent about eight weeks researching the figures they chose, and created backgrounds to stand against in art class, complete with a “press here” button for visitors to activate the “living wax figures.” Parents and family were invited to tour the “museum,” and the rest of the school attended as well — some students asking for autographs in special books they’d made during art class.
People from nearly every sphere of life were represented, from historical figures like Abraham Lincoln to sports stars such as Shawn Johnson and arts giants like Walt Disney.
“I ask them to pick somebody who has done good in the world, so either made a difference in the world of sports or the world of art or the world overall,” Iselin said. “So, they have to pick somebody who has made an impact somehow, not just somebody who is famous just because they’re famous.”
Marquis Doran said he chose to become “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz for his project “because I really liked Snoopy and I like how he would just freestyle draw. I like to doodle, too,” he said.
Autumn Jefts chose to portray comedic icon Lucille Ball.
“I had seen some of her shows and she’s really funny and I think she just changed television,” Autumn said. “ ... She made a lot of people laugh and she made people feel good.”
Iselin said she’s been proud of the way the students have stepped up for the project each year.
“They’ve learned public speaking skills, they’ve learned art skills, they’ve learned planning and organizing, and it’s just incredible,” Iselin said. “Our kids are amazing.”
Students in local schools are doing their part for the planet through recycling projects.
At Jaffrey Grade School, the student council has been working to reduce the amount of plastic used in the school. After the school’s parent group purchased three water filling stations in 2018, students were able to save a total of 10,293 plastic water bottles.
The student council also purchased bamboo forks for 4th- and 5th-graders to use at lunch during February and March, which saved about 1,100 pieces of plastic, and recycled 675 markers for the Crayola Color Cycle project.
On June 11, the Northeast Resource Recovery Association’s School Recycling Club held a recycling event at Fuller Elementary School in Keene. During the event, Trash on the Lawn Day, students worked together to organize an entire day’s worth of trash into categories. After weighing and recording the amount of waste, the students wrote a report demonstrating how much could have been diverted from the waste stream.
This week, 10 teachers in the Keene School District were honored by the Keene Board of Education in the ninth annual Exceptional Teacher Awards. Winners are nominated by colleagues, parents and students in recognition of their outstanding work on behalf of students.
Those recognized include Suzanne Charles, a world languages teacher at Keene High School; Jennifer Desautell, an art teacher at Fuller Elementary School; Dominic DiBenedetto, an English teacher at Keene Middle School; Michele Gates, a counselor at Keene High; Gretchen Hoefer, a 5th-grade teacher at Symonds Elementary School; Sonja Leslie, a math teacher at Keene High; David Lybarger, a physics teacher at Keene High; Jennifer Petrovich, a 2nd-grade teacher at Wheelock Elementary School; Peter Siegel, a music teacher at Symonds; and Caroline Thayer, a special educator at Keene Middle School.
On June 7, 7th- and 8th-grade students at South Meadow School in Peterborough learned about portable sawmills through an enrichment program organized by integrated art and technology teacher Dwain Hammett. Charlie Hunt of Hillsboro visited the students to demonstrate the sawmill and show the students the process of sawing boards out of logs. They learned about the history of wood processing and the technology used today.