Hoping to learn more about people

Bob Hope shared a joke about determining when a person is getting old.

Juliette Gordon Lowe shared how when she ran low on money that she sold a string of pearls to continue funding an all girls organization in its infancy.

Vincent Van Gogh shared he had an older brother who died at a young — his brother had the same birthday and the same name as he.

William Shakespeare shared he was born on April 23 and died on his birthday 52 years later in 1616.

These four and hundreds of other important people throughout history and from today’s world could be found at Wapakoneta Middle School as part of the BioFair. More than 260 sixth-graders gave presentations Friday, with 37 of them giving a new electronic presentations in the computer lab area.

Sixth-grade English teacher Michelle Roediger explained teachers and students made it through school delays and cancellations as they developed their projects. She said with this being one of the largest classes, it required them to expand their biography list.

“We have a lot more people and lot more people who are living on the list,” Roediger said. “Overall I think they did a very good job.”

She shared some of the students went to primary sources. One person wrote to the NASA engineer he was portraying, another contacted the family of Roger Maris while another student contacted Michelle Obama. 

“Hope Johns, who did Michelle Obama, got a very nice letter back from the first lady as well as pictures of the first family,” Roediger said. 

Another new twist was the addition of technology. Student used iPads and 37 students gave a PowerPoint presentation.

The work did not escape the judges.

“These kids are all very intelligent children,” judge Terry Schultz said. “You can tell they all worked very hard on their presentations and on their BioFair projects.”

Schultz’s mother, Eileen, who has been judging the BioFair for years, said she is still impressed.

“I really enjoy this and I have been doing this for quite some time,” Eileen Schultz said. “They put a lot of work into their presentations, right down to the details in their clothing.”

Adam Scott chose a home-grown talent picking Bob Hope, the man with the ski-slope nose.

“I picked him because he is super funny and my dad always talked about him,” the son of Susan and Lee Scott said. “I saw that he was an entertainer and that fit me perfectly because everybody tells me I’m funny.”

Through his research, he learned Hope was born in Cleveland and often performed overseas for American troops in foreign lands through the United Services Organization (USO). He also lived to be 100 years old, while his wife, Delores, lived to be 102.

“I discovered the research on his life was easier than I thought it would be,” Adam said. “I found a few jokes off his website. I learned he was pretty popular because he was a hard and caring worker, he performed for the troops overseas and he was funny.”

As for telling if a person is getting old, Scott, as Hope, said, “when the candles cost more than the cake.”

Picking Juliette Gordon Lowe, the founder of the Girl Scouts, came easy to Caitlin Puff when she had to pick a person for her BioFair project. Caitlin is a member of the Girl Scout Troop 20062 in Wapakoneta.

Caitlin shared Lowe was inspired by Sir Robert Baden-Powell, who started the scouting movement. Girls were attracted to camping and the outdoors, so Powell’s sister, Agnes, and Lowe started Girl Guides. Lowe developed the concept for girls and brought the idea to the United States. Girl Scouts of America started on March 12, 1912.

“She was really compassionate toward animals and was really dedicated to Girl Scouts because for a while she was paying for all the Girl Scouts expenses and when she got low on money she decided to sell her pearls,” Caitlin said. “She also drove an old car up a mountain to get the property deed for a Girl Scout camp.”

Caitlin told stories of her compassion toward animals by burying a frozen robin and giving a man $5 to feed a horse.

The daughter of Becky and Tim Puff has two older siblings, Tiffany, 19, and Kameran,, 16, and a younger brother, Isaac.

Giving a giggle, Caitlin said, “This project taught me more about Lowe and I just wanted to know more about the founder of the Girl Scouts.”

She said it is likely she will give her presentation to her Girl Scout troop.

Haley Schattschneider started her research on her person by reading a biography on Van Gogh and then researching his name on the Internet. 

After researching his life, each of the students had to develop “Vital Statistics” on the person such as birth, death, parents, contribution to society, she shared. They then did a reason they like the person with an, “I Admire,” followed by a timeline and map of where he was born, lived and died.

With all the information gathered, Haley said they put the information on the board. The entire project required two class mods each day for seven weeks.

With all this done, Haley developed a strong appreciation for Van Gogh’s work.

“I really liked his art work because it was so different from what anyone else did in his time,” Haley said. “He took so many risks, because even though everyone hated his art, he kept on painting the way he liked.”

She said she was attracted to his art because of the way he chose his colors and worked the colors through the painting “and how it always turns out really pretty.”

The daughter of Kelly and Adam Schattschneider had heard of Van Gogh when she tagged along with her parents when her older sister, Leah, participated in BioFair and one her fellow students had done Van Gogh. Her sister is now a sophomore.

Sixth-grader Tabby Zwiebel dressed up as The Bard and put together her board on the playwright and poet. 

“I found he out he put in a lot of work and he had written 154 sonnets, which are poems, and he had written 36 plays,” the daughter of Cary Tippie and David Zwiebel said. “His most famous plays are ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ which they made a cartoon movie called ‘Gnomeo and Juliet’ and his second play is famous for the soliloquy ‘To be or not to be’ in the play ‘Hamlet.’”

She picked William Shakespeare for her BioFair project because her mother piqued her interest. 

“I really, really liked Shakespeare — my mom used to always read to me every night before I went to bed one of his poems,” Tabby said. “I always found his poems really, really sweet and touching.”

Tabby said Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway when he was 18. She was his elder by eight years. They got married because she was pregnant, but they stayed together his entire life.  The couple ended up with three children.

Through her weeks of research, Tabby learned something about herself, too.

“I learned that I am very creative because I really liked what I did with my time line — I didn’t think I would be able to do that,” Tabby said. “I made the time line all zig-zaggy and wrapped it through masks. I had a lot of fun and I learned a lot.”