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CIS students bring history to life

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

CLANTON —Parents and other family members stepped back in time as they entered Clanton Intermediate School’s Famous American Wax Museum where they heard from historical figures.

The project was the work of Jill Moatts and her third-grade students.

“It was a three-week project. They read a chapter book. They took notes. We did Internet research. We made a poster, and now this is kind of the grand finale presentation,” Moatts said.

Each student wore a red button. When the button was pressed, the character came alive and recited a brief history of the person they were portraying. More than 50 people came through the pop-up museum.

“I had a set of biographies that I wanted to use in some way,” Moatts said. “This class loves to read.”

Students were assigned a historical figure.

“I tried to match it up with what I thought they would enjoy reading about,” Moatts said.

Historical figures such as Neil Armstrong, Amelia Earhart and Thomas Edison were represented as well as Pocahontas, Sacagawea, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.  There were sports heroes and political leaders, authors and even Harry Houdini.

“They did a wonderful job, not only with their costumes but also with their speeches,” attendee Sandra Graham said.

Makenzie Bearor was Elizabeth Blackwell.

“She was born in 1811 in the United Kingdom. She was the first female doctor in the whole United States,” Bearor said.

Austin Thrower was Martin Luther King Jr.

“It felt good. I was kind of nervous when I got here today at first, but when I did it three or four times I just went with the flow and it was easier,” Thrower said.

Thrower said King was a part of blacks and whites attending the same schools and being able to eat in the same restaurants.

Kallie Traywick, who portrayed Rosa Parks, said her biography book had more than 200 pages.

“I was kind of nervous, but after I started saying it to people I was less nervous,” Traywick said.

Addie Newton was Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis. She said she enjoyed memorizing the information and sharing it with the people who came to the display.

Beth Meank, whose son Cayden was portraying Walt Disney, said she was “very impressed” by the display.

“I’m very impressed with how these students have worked so hard and learned so much about their character and their costumes are really outstanding,” Meank said.

Wayne Coppedge, whose grandson Logan Coppedge portrayed Lou Gehrig, said the students “did a great job” memorizing their information.

“This is fantastic. I’m just so glad they can do this, and learn this,” Coppedge said. “History is always important … I am very impressed with what they have done with these kids.”