By 2:30 p.m. last Friday, families lined the hallways at Holly Grove Elementary School with change jingling in their pockets.
The second graders soon collected the money as they shared the stories of important historical figures like Henry Ford, Betsy Ross, Jacques Cousteau, Cleopatra, Babe Ruth, Harriet Tubman and Clara Barton.
Tracks two and four held their sixth annual wax museum to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through the Pennies for Patients Program. Tracks one and three had their wax museum in May.
“They love it,” second grade teacher Andrea Echols said.
The donation drive on June 22 raised $1,300. Before that, the Holly Grove Elementary second graders had raised $1,171 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society this year alone. The total this year of more than $2,400 far surpassed last year’s nearly $2,000.
Echols’s students began work on the big research project in April. Students prepared a two-minute speech about their famous person in history.
Echols said the teachers told students to pick someone who was at least 50 years old or had made a major contribution to the world.
The teachers hoped to keep the children focused on studying historical figures instead of celebrities. However, the occasional big name from sports or Hollywood did make its way to the classroom.
George Lucas, the creator of “Star Wars”, skateboarder Tony Hawk, Michael Jordan, Audrey Hepburn and Elvis Presley all were big attractions during the event.
Students, dressed as their subject, waited patiently next to poster presentations, and when a donation was dropped in their collection container, the wax figures suddenly came alive.
And with costumes that included wigs, glasses, bonnets, beards and even a stuffed monkey, the students were able to bring history to life.
The project is the culmination of a year of study at Holly Grove Elementary, but Echols said the students choose how they want to portray their characters and they have a lot of fun doing it.
“It is a lot of hard work, but they really get into it,” Echols said. “As a teacher it’s very rewarding.”
Not only is the project a literacy and social studies learning experience, but it allows students to grow in creativity and public speaking.
The wax museum project began the same year Holly Grove Elementary School opened. When second grade teacher Amber Bailey joined the team and began work on her National Board Certification, the students linked up with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
School and Youth Program Senior Campaign Manager Jenny Wayne said she enjoys going to Holly Grove Elementary each year to talk with the kids. Using visuals like white and red beach balls that represent blood cells and a black material that covers the cells, Wayne explains cancer to the students in an assembly. Then the caped Capt. Chemo comes to the rescue, saving the day and getting rid of the cancer.
“They get it,” she said.
Wayne said she also shows local honored heroes to help students put faces with the cause. Then she talks to them about how they can help, one penny at a time.
“It’s really neat to see how every child can make a difference,” Wayne said.
If you would like to donate to this cause, checks can be written to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Contact Kelly Griffith at email@example.com or 919-552-5675.