Rogers School Brings Black History to Life
The fourth grade's "wax museum" takes a different approach to learning.
Black historical leaders, poets and legends came alive last week at the Grace Norton Rogers Elementary School in Hightstown as the fourth grade presented its version of a wax museum turned living history guide.
Each student, resplendent in garb that their Black History persona would have donned in whatever time period they were prominent, filled the multi-purpose room on the Stockton Street school as parents, teachers and administrators milled about.
In addition to dressing like each history maker, the students sat with a poster board in front of their stations, complete with a bell.
When someone rang the bell, the student cited quotes and little-known facts about their figure.
Fourth grade student Hunter, who was portraying Thurgood Marshall, said his pick was inspired by the fact that Marshall was the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.
Other students elected to pick musicians and pop culture icons who are still relevant today.
That popular relevance was what inspired Natalie, who was dressed up as Beyonce, to learn more about the Grammy award-winning singer.
“Picking her was simple, because I really enjoy listening to her music,” she said.
The point of the exhibition, according to teacher Sonja Hunt, was to create a “living biography.”
“We were looking for a different way to teach the importance of these famous African Americans, other than doing a book report, and this ‘wax museum’ idea came to be,” she explained.
The fourth grade class was the only one to put on the museum, which was attended by other grade levels and by parents.
Hunt noted that although the students want to gravitate toward more culturally relevant icons and pop stars, the class does see a good mix of genres.
One such pick that surely spans both the current and culturally significant was that of the nation’s first African-American president, Barack Obama, played by fourth grader John.
Complete with a three-piece suit and patriotic red, white and blue poster highlighting some of the president’s accomplishments, John said he was mostly “interested to learn some of the more detailed facts about his personal and family life.”