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Dickinson Middle Years Students Host Wax Museum

When John Dickinson’s 8th grade IB students came to the cafeteria and gym on Friday, May 24, they assumed a new identity – one of a person with significant historical accomplishments. The group of close to 90 students took part in the third annual Living Wax Museum, coordinated by eighth grade IB teacher Anthony Swierzbinski.

Each student chose and researched one person who lived during the 1800’s or early 1900’s and who was not part of their social studies curriculum. Famous characters including Sitting Bull, P.T. Barnum, Henry Ford, Empress Dowager and Nelson Mandela came to life when a person pressed the button on the accompanying visual display. Each student introduced him/herself and gave a short verbal presentation about their life and accomplishments.

“The Wax Museum pushes kids to think outside the box and makes them get out of their comfort zone,” said teacher Anthony Swierzbinski. “It fits with the IB mindset of being creative, working harder and pushing boundaries.”

The students worked two to three days a week for about a month to prepare. They researched through books and online, spending time in the school library. They had different reasons for choosing their “person”. Jessica chose Nelson Mandela because she lived in South Africa until she was 11 while Marissa researched the life of Empress Dowager to learn more about her culture. Aniyah dressed as Shaka Zulu, a fierce South African warrior because she cared about leadership.

Parents, other students and teachers came to the Living Wax Museum to see the costumes and hear the presentations. The participants were excited to see each other’s costumes and hear their speeches. Everyone had a chance to learn a little more about history from the past.

“The students did an amazing job with historical research and presentation. These are skills that will continue to grow throughout their time in high school and will benefit them later in life,” said Holly Golder, Red Clay Supervisor of Social Studies.

Dickinson’s Middle Years eighth grade students came to realize that the people they portrayed came from diverse backgrounds and went on to accomplish great things, something that is possible for them as well. 

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