Jonas McGhee II gives a short presentation on his “hero” Albert Einstein Wednesday afternoon during Oak Harbor Elementary’s fourth-grade “interactive wax museum.” Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Jonas McGhee II gives a short presentation on his “hero” Albert Einstein Wednesday afternoon during Oak Harbor Elementary’s fourth-grade “interactive wax museum.” Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Interactive ‘wax museum’ brings history to life for local students

Last week, a miniature Albert Einstein, Sonia Sotomayor, Jane Goodall, Martin Luther King Jr. and other notable figures from the past and present could be found in hallways and classrooms at Oak Harbor Elementary School.

“He’s my hero,” said Albert Einstein, otherwise known as fourth-grader Jonas McGhee II. He wore an unruly white wig, lab coat and tie as part of the school’s “interactive wax museum.” Around 70 students stood (almost) as still as wax figures until a visitor pressed their “button,” which would activate a mini speech about their chosen person.

McGhee stood completely silent and still until passers by pressed the imaginary button on the floor in front of him. He didn’t need any note cards as he went from talking about growing up in Germany in the 1800s to developing E=MC2. He chose Einstein because he loves science and wants to be a scientist astronaut when he grows up.

Three weeks prior, the fourth graders were given a selection of short biographies on a number of important people and given the opportunity to chose a subject for their book report, essay and wax museum exhibit.

“I think it went really well,” said Megan Hunt, fourth-grade reading teacher and organizer of the event. “The kids worked really hard. They were nervous at first, but I think they pulled it off.”

Parents, teachers and students from other grade levels were all invited to walk through the different presentations. Some students chose to dress up as their chosen person and others created a poster for their visual.

“I had to study very hard,” said Zoe Stannford, dressed as Jane Goodall in a tan safari shirt with binoculars around her neck. Stannford felt connected to Goodall’s chimp research because she likes animals and her dad calls her “little monkey.”

Kierra Thayer stood in front of her poster depicting photos of Martin Luther King Jr and a timeline of important events in his life. “Since he was an American hero, I thought it would be interesting to learn more about him,” she said.

Hunt encountered this type of project when she was a teacher in Georgia, and she decided to give it a try in her first year as a fourth-grade teacher in Oak Harbor.

“I thought it would be a fun way for the kids to do a research project,” she said. “They would like to participate in this more than just the book report by itself.”

Lila Forees both dressed up as Malala Yousafzai and made a poster with photos and quotes of the Pakistani activist. Forees was inspired by her courage and determination.

“There’s not a lot of people in this world who would fight this hard for an education,” she said.

This is the first time Hunt had done this type of project with the students. It was clear on the faces of teachers and parents walking through the exhibit, it was well received.

“They just did a really good job,” said Hunt. “All three fourth-grade teachers are really proud of how it turned out.”

Fourth-grader Zoe Stannford, dressed as Jane Goodall, talk’s about the primatologist to students from other grade levels during the “wax museum” at Oak Harbor Elementary. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Fourth-grader Zoe Stannford, dressed as Jane Goodall, talk’s about the primatologist to students from other grade levels during the “wax museum” at Oak Harbor Elementary. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Allison Garcia (front right) and Angelina Heroff applaud after Emilie Perrin’s presentation on Sonia Sotomayor on Wednesday. Perrin was one of around 70 fourth graders who either dressed up as their chosen notable person or created a poster. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Allison Garcia (front right) and Angelina Heroff applaud after Emilie Perrin’s presentation on Sonia Sotomayor on Wednesday. Perrin was one of around 70 fourth graders who either dressed up as their chosen notable person or created a poster. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

More in News

Prosecutor declines to charge Langley police chief with crime

The Island County prosecutor won’t charge Langley Police Chief David Marks with… Continue reading

Registration open for returning students at SVC

Registration for returning students is underway for summer and fall quarters at… Continue reading

Oak Harbor FamilyCare Physical Therapy becomes NorthSound Physical Therapy.

On June 1, Oak Harbor FamilyCare Physical Therapy officially becomes “NorthSound Physical… Continue reading

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island open house

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island will host its annual open house for… Continue reading

Whidbey Nonprofit Gifts Funds to Local Volunteer Organizations and Lighthouses

The Lighthouse Environmental Programs, or LEP, nonprofit group of Whidbey continues to… Continue reading

Art school hosting presentation by National Geographic photographer

Renowned photographer Sam Abell will give a lecture and photo presentation at… Continue reading

Oak Harbor Council creates taxing district to fund roadwork

Oak Harbor City Council adopted an ordinance that should help the city… Continue reading

Bench will be dedicated to longtime Oak Harbor leader

Kiwanis Club of Oak Harbor and the Oak Harbor School District will… Continue reading

Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times
                                Janelle Solomon, 12, from the Lummi Nation’s Ultimate Warrior Canoe Club carries a canoe along with Regina Miller, who is about to participate in the Woman’s Singles races. See the story on page A9 of today’s Whidbey News-Times.
Water Fest draws up to 4,000 people

Bead by bead, three-and-a-half year old Ezra Malloy strung together a colorful… Continue reading

Most Read