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Frozen in time

Holy Redeemer School fifth-graders transformed into historical figures for annual biographical museum

November 3, 2012
By Jenny Kirk , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - Unique historical figures came to life at the 10th annual fifth-grade biographical museum Friday afternoon in the St. Mary's Chapel at Holy Redeemer School.

Visitors to the museum had the opportunity to learn about and see creative replicas of television legends like Shirley Temple (Lauren Buysse), Elizabeth Taylor (Claire Fischer) and Steve Irwin (Connor Roth), as well as innovators and pioneers, such as Albert Einstein (Konnor Aufenthie), Neil Armstrong (Ethan VanHauwaert) and John Deere (Eli Cole).

"John Deere's life was kind of interesting," Cole said. "I enjoyed (the project)."

Article Photos

Photos by Jenny Kirk
As visitors walked around during the 10th annual fifth-grade biographical museum Friday at Holy Redeemer School, they had the opportunity to see a variety of historical people, including Albert Einstein, portrayed by Konnor Aufenthie, looking into a microscope.

According to Cole's poster board, Deere, who lived from 1804-1886, made one of the first agricultural tools. He invented the first steel plow in 1839. He also invented the John Deere tractor.

Fifth-grader Noah Puetz decided to do his four-week project on Daniel David Palmer, who performed the first chiropractic adjustment in history. According to the posterboard by Puetz, in 1895, Palmer first adjusted a janitor named Harvey Lillard, who had been deaf for 17 years. After the treatment, Lillard was no longer deaf.

"It's always nice to see some new faces in here," said Brittany VanKeulen, HRS fifth-grade teacher and event organizer. "They can choose anyone who is dead and has had some type of historical contribution to society."

Savannah Dobrenski did her project on Mary Jemison, a white girl who was raised by Seneca Indians since she was 15.

"It was really fun," Dobrenski said about researching Jemison. "I chose her because I had just got done reading a really good book about her and her life."

Dobrenski's poster revealed that Jemison was captured by the Indians to make up for the loss of one of their fallen brothers. She was forced to relinquish her old name and customs. Her new name, Dehgewanus, meant "two falling voices." The poster also included a photograph of Jemison, taken shortly after she was brought to her new home, which depicted a squaw braiding Jemison's blonde hair.

"At first she didn't like it, but then she was happy," Dobrenski said.

Along with the poster, students are also required to do a big research paper and come up with their own costumes, VanKeulen said.

"We encourage them and their parents to borrow stuff from their friends and family or make their costumes instead of going out and spending a lot of money," she said. "Sometimes they do a speech, too."

For her portrayal of Helen Keller, Ramsey Nelson rounded up an extra-special dress, a long, blue-velvet one that was in her family.

"It was my great-grandma's wedding dress," Nelson said. "It was at my grandma's house."

Nelson explained that Keller had been born with her sense of sight and hearing but lost them at an early age.

"She lost her hearing and sight at 19 months old after she got very sick," Nelson said.

The poster revealed that until teacher Anne Sullivan made a breakthrough with her, Keller was like a wild animal because she couldn't communicate her needs. Throughout her life, Nelson found, Keller stood as a powerful example of how determination, hard work and imagination allowed her to triumph over adversity.

Henrietta and Jim VanHyfte were among the many grandparents, parents, teachers and students to explore the biographical museum in between occasional five-minute breaks, when "renovations" would take place. In actuality, the breaks gave the students a chance to relax, move around and change poses.

"It was pretty cool," Jim VanHyfte said.

Henrietta VanHyfte pointed out that they enjoyed all of the projects but was especially excited to see what their granddaughter, Camryn Leary, had created.

"It was great," Henrietta VanHyfte said. "They all did a lot of work. There's so much talent."

Leary did her project on Cleopatra, who became Queen of Egypt and one of the most powerful rulers in history by age 18. She married three times - to Ptolemy XII, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.

"I learned a lot and I enjoyed it," Leary said.



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