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Citrus Heights 5th graders bring historical figures to life

Students stand in front of their presentations of various historical figures during a Jan. 26 “wax museum” event at Cambridge Heights Elementary. // S. Williams

By Sara Beth Williams–
Fifth graders at Cambridge Heights Elementary in Citrus Heights brought historical figures to life on Thursday with a “living wax museum” event held at the school.

Fifth grade students dressed in the costumes of historical figures were situated around the school’s multipurpose room with handmade backdrops that coincided with their historical figure and era.

A variety of historical figures from 1643 through 2003 were represented, including Sir Isaac Newton, Abraham Lincoln, Frida Kahlo, Dr. Seuss, Walt Disney, Helen Keller, Steve Jobs and more. Costumed students stood in front of their backdrop, and attendees circulated throughout the evening, dropping money into donation boxes in order to “activate” a historical presentation.

“All the kids loved choosing a character and dressing up and getting involved,” said parent Kim Zamora, adding that it was a great family night.

Fifth grade parent Diana Lambert said the students had been preparing since November. Lambert’s daughter, who portrayed Andy Warhol, said that the project counted for “most of our grade.”

After choosing a historical figure to study, students were responsible for writing a research essay, creating a costume, painting a backdrop and display, and memorizing two two-minute speeches that they could perform for attendees. Students also had the opportunity to practice with the rest of the school population during the day on Thursday before family and friends arrived in the evening.

The annual event has been going on for at least ten years, according to fifth grade teacher Julie Garrett, but this was the first year it had returned since the 2019-2020 school year. Garrett said putting on the event after not having done so for three years was challenging.

“So many kids were excited to bring it back this year,” said Principal Vincent Arias, adding that the project was a great way for kids to utilize a multitude of skills, particularly oral speaking.

All proceeds from the event are slated to go toward paying for partial scholarships and transportation costs for the fifth graders’ week-long science camp at Sly Park.

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