University City

‘Wax museum’ brings historic figures to life at Mallard Creek Elementary

John Lennon, Gabby Douglas and Nelson Mandela paid visits to Mallard Creek Elementary on May 8.

The historic figures were among many authors, artists and athletes that fourth- and fifth-grade students portrayed during the school’s second annual “Night at the Wax Museum” program.

Sitting as still as wax figures, each student waited until his or her button was pushed and then shared their figure’s life story with participants.

Summer Allen, 9, shared Gabby Douglas’ success as a member of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team who took home gold medals in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the 2012 Olympics.

“She showed me how to be a good role model,” Summer said. “Try hard and never give up.”

Twin sisters Jayden and Zoey Elismon, 11, also supported women Olympic athletes as they played the roles of Stephanie Hightower and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, respectively. The Elismon sisters, who are related to CEO of USA Track & Field Max Siegel, wore official 2008 Olympic uniforms.

Jayden said Hightower is “an amazing person to me.” Zoey said Joyner-Kersee is “a well-respected woman.”

The wax museum teaches students public speaking, memorization and research skills, said Melissa Carrara, a board member of the Mallard Creek parent-teacher organization.

“They get to choose what they learn,” Carrara said. “It’s my favorite activity. The kids love it.”

The museum helped inspire usually reserved fourth-grader Max Marlow to get involved, said his mother, Wendy Marlow.

“It has been a great experience,” Marlow said.

Combining his love of art and architecture with the project, Max, 10, became Leonardo Da Vinci for the night.

“I’d like to fit in his shoes and do those paintings and drawings,” Max said.

Kylie Marlow, 7, posed as Mona Lisa for her brother’s portrayal. Kylie said she likes Mona Lisa’s clothes and hair. “She’s very pretty,” she said.

Students took on the roles of world leaders, scientists and actors throughout the school. Ancient Egypt’s King Tut, teenage diarist and Holocaust victim Anne Frank and Apple founder Steve Jobs were a few of the characters who came to life.

Jaylen Horne, 11, portrayed the late South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela.

“I believe he represents power and honor,” he said. “I’m here today to let everyone know he is a wonderful person.”

Jaylen said he often feels like the underdog, especially during sports, so can relate to Mandela’s struggle.

“If you don’t believe in yourself, that’s how it’s going to be,” he said.

Felicia Carrara, 10, supported women’s rights as “Little Women” author Louisa May Alcott. Felicia said she has read many of Alcott’s books and wants to be a writer.

“They inspired me,” Felicia said. “It’s interesting to know about life back then.”

Bringing a rock ’n’ roll vibe, Elijah Edwards, 11, channeled Beatles member John Lennon.

“He was just a great guy,” Elijah said. “I don’t like pop songs. I like rock ’n’ roll.”