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Cuero students take a walk through time at annual wax museum

By KBell
March 31, 2012 at midnight
Updated March 30, 2012 at 10:31 p.m.

Alexis Anders, 13, portrays Oveta Culp Hobby, the first secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and the first commanding officer of the Women's Army Corps. Alexis wore an authentic W.A.C. uniform, purchased on eBay, for the "Walk Through Time" event at Cuero Junior High School.

KNOW YOUR HISTORICAL FIGURES

Can you match the person with their claim to fame?

1. Sonja Henie

2. Madam C.J. Walker

3. Helen Hunt Jackson

4. Nellie Bly

5. Amelia Bloomer

6. Ellen Craft

A. An African-American hair care entrepreneur and philanthropist

B. The pen name of a famous American woman journalist

C. A slave from Georgia who dressed as a white man to escape to England with her husband

D. A women's rights advocate and suffrage pioneer in the 19th century

E. A three-time Olympic figure skating champion

F. An American writer and activist for improved treatment of Native Americans

ANSWERS

1: E

2: A

3: F

4: B

5: D

6: C

CUERO - A Native American, Russian naval captain and black philanthropist walk into the Cuero Junior High gym.

There's no punch line.

This is the third annual "A Walk through Time" Wax Museum - the culmination of months of preparation by 44 eighth-grade English honors students.

"Boy, they rose to the challenge," their teacher, Sherry Wiesman said, while gazing at the gym hosting the likes of Stonewall Jackson, Charlie Chaplin, Helen Hunt Jackson and Nellie Bly.

With the eighth-graders serious in character, other students paraded around the gym throughout the day, getting an introduction to the historical characters only seen in books.

Parents and community members took their walk through time in the evening.

Since September, the Cuero students have been preparing for this performance. After picking an influential character in history, they hit the books, compiling all of their knowledge into a research paper, complete with parenthetical citations.

They then created a display board with facts, pictures, a timeline, research summary and some impressive period props. On Thursday, it was time to transform into the character they'd so intimately come to know.

"Howd-eeeeee" 14-year-old Chelsea Fuchs, squealed in a southern drawl. "Look at all these handsome men we have here. I wonder if any of you fellas would like to take me out on a date."

She was every bit of Minnie Pearl, the country comedian made famous at the Grand Ole Opry. Chelsea was clad down to the floral hat with the tag still attached. She wore a puffy-sleeved, yellow dress - which was actually her grandmother's prom get-up.

Besides the obvious goals - to learn about and communicate history - the Wax Museum has afforded another unique experience.

"Parents have even said it's been a chance for us to come together and brainstorm as a family," Wiesman said.

Take for example, Courtney Clark, who was the American Indian activist and educator, Sarah Winnemucca, for the day. She was to the nines in Native American gear, performing her character in front of a tepee she and her father had spent the night constructing.

"I knew that my dad had a lot of Indian stuff, so I knew I could make the project good," she said of her choice of character.

Though the assignment combined two of the arguably most dreaded tasks - research papers and public speaking - everyone from Sir William Wallace to Ellen Craft looked to be having a ball, as did the students learning some Texas, American and world history straight from the source.

"This is probably my favorite school project I've ever done," Chelsea said.

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