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Famous Ohioans portrayed at Spanish Immersion's 'wax museum'

Dekota Morris, right, and Aiden Henry attract the interest of kindergarten students during their portrayal of Ohio’s Wright brothers. Dekota was Wilbur Wright, while Aiden took on the role of his brother Orville.

      Gavin Camak, left, portrayed 19th century African-American inventor Granville T. Woods during the Spanish Immersion School’s “wax museum” of famous Ohioans Thursday afternoon.

      Fourth- and fifth-graders selected their own famous characters, dressed like them and created informational displays. The wax museum premise was simple: Students assumed stationary positions and did not begin talking until visitors pressed paper-plate “buttons” on their displays.

      Portrayals of inventors, astronauts, gymnasts, musicians, social activists and dancers filled the gym, much to the delight of parents, grandparents and students in kindergarten through third grade.

      Students worked on their presentations at home for several weeks. Many displays offered information in Spanish as well as English.

      When the “button” on his display was pushed, fourth-grader Gavin Camak came to life with a carefully memorized script about inventor Granville Woods. Standing next to a display that featured Woods’ picture and illustrations of several of his  inventions, Gavin explained that Woods was born in Columbus in 1856. His creation of the first telegraph service that allowed messages to be sent from moving trains was among more than 60 patents he received.

      At the opposite end of the gym fourth-graders Dekota Morris and Aiden Henry drew a crowd for their portrayal of the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, of Dayton, Ohio. Dekota wore a paper-plate “button” around his neck. When it was pushed, Orville and Wilbur Wright talked about their experiments that led to the first flight of their powered aircraft, the Wright Flyer, in 1903.

      Before the doors to the gym opened fifth-grade social studies teacher Leigh Kelly and fourth-grade teacher Alejandro Gil Palacious gathered their students.

      “We have assigned grades and no one was lower than an A minus,” Kelly said.

      Students cheered.

      “The pressure is off of you. This afternoon is for fun!” Kelly added.

      Another cheer, then the fourth- and fifth-graders moved to their exhibits to be “frozen” until their buttons were pushed.

      “The students worked hard on their projects,” Principal Gabe Costa said. “I think that is reflected in the high quality of their presentations.”

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