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In another's shoes

March 9, 2012

Dalton Huelskamp, who dressed up as Thomas Jefferson, talks with Carl Lewis, also known as sixth-grader Dustin Haggerd, at the Wapakoneta Middle School Biography Fair on Friday.

Thomas Jefferson, Martha Stewart and William Shakespeare all lurked through the halls Friday at the Wapakoneta Middle School.

The sixth-graders, who held their annual Biography Fair on Thursday for parents and Friday for fellow students and judges, had the opportunity to select a famous person, research that person and then dress-up like them. All their work was judged by members of the local community.

“They worked so hard,” sixth-grade teacher Michelle Boyer said. “They know the person they are studying and are very excited.”

Boyer, along with other sixth-grade teachers Michelle Roediger, Paula Quatman and Kathryn Stover, collaborate every year with this lesson plan, as the school has been hosting this event for 13 years.

“Today (Friday) is such a big day,” Quatman said. “It’s a culmination of all their hard work.”

She said one of the students’ favorite parts of this project is dressing up in character.

“This covers a lot of areas,” Quatman said, “Including reading and writing standards and the oral presentation requirement.”

Each of the 204 students who participated in the Biography Fair gave their presentation to three different judges on Friday. Judges included Wapakoneta City School faculty, retired teachers and community members.

Queen Elizabeth, also known as sixth-grader Autumn Corwin, said she learned quite a bit while working on this project.

“It taught me how to research and how to find research through books and the Internet,” Corwin said.

Wearing a light blue dress with a white fur shawl which she had rented from “Once Upon a Fantasy,” in Lima, Corwin presented her speech to the judges.

“I was looking through pictures of her, and I thought this fit,” Corwin said of her outfit.

Corwin said she picked Queen Elizabeth because she already knew some background information about her.

“I picked her because she was a queen and I knew a little about her,” Corwin said.

Twelve-year-old Kristian Martin dressed up like Isaac Newton, and enjoyed researching him for the project.

“I thought it was neat,” Martin said. “This person is a very smart person. He contributed a lot to society.”

Sixth-grader Savannah Oen did her presentation on Pocahontas. Her grandmother helped her to make her outfit.

“She’s very nice and kind and I love indians,” Oen said of Pocahontas. “She prevented a lot of fights and she helped to stop colonist from taking over her Native American territory.”

Oen said the class has been working on the project for the past five weeks at school.

A blonde hair wig and sparkling turquoise dress was the chosen outfit worn by Sarah Pothast, also known as Dolly Parton.

“I picked her because I’m more familiar with her,” Pothast said. “I learned about her life, and what she has done.”

Pothast said she was nervous, but she has been practicing a lot for the presentations.

Dalton Huelskamp, who rented his Thomas Jefferson outfit for the project, said he picked the third president of the United States to profile because he wanted to learn more about him.

“I didn’t know a lot about him,” Huelskamp said.

He said he had known he was one of the writers of the Declaration of Independence, but he also learned about the home he died in, and that he was responsible for the Louisiana Purchase.

Dustin Haggerd, who dressed up as Carl Lewis, said he is a big sports fan, but said he had no idea who Carl Lewis was, which was why he chose to study him.

Lewis is a Olympic gold medal winner, and Haggerd wore athletic shorts, a tank top with U.S.A. printed on the front and a medal that he earned playing soccer.

“I was nervous,” Haggerd said after he gave his presentation to the judges. “It’s very built up anxiety.”

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