As parents and student visitors arrived inside Middle Gate Elementary School fourth grade classrooms on Friday, May 3, students were posed, in costume, and waiting to be tapped on the shoulder — an action that sparked the start of many speeches for the school’s Living Biographies project.
Students in fourth grade teachers Linda Baron, Heidi Beauty, Katie Mauro, and John Sullivan’s classes all participated in the project. Parents were invited to the school for the event, and younger grade levels also visited the fourth graders to witness the presentations.
Ms Baron said the students did an outstanding job. Each year, she said, the bar is raised and every year the students rise up to it.
“And they are learning that individual people can really make a difference in the world,” said Ms Baron.
For the project students researched Connecticut residents then prepared a speech to give as that person when touched gently on the shoulder.
“Oh, hello. Try and guess who I am,” said fourth grader Olivia Cornett, who was portraying Dorothy Hamill for the day. “I’ll give you clues. Okay? In the year 1976 I won a gold medal in figure skating at the Winter Olympics. I also won an Emmy Award for a lead role in Romeo and Juliet on Ice.”
Olivia said she enjoyed the Living Biographies project because she is interested in acting and wants to be an actress someday.
Near Olivia, students presented biographies of Suzanne Collins, Martha Stewart, Harriet Tubman, Noah Webster, Rosa Ponselle, and Nathan Hale.
“They’re amazing,” said Ms Beauty about all of the students. “I can’t stop smiling.”
Many smiles could be seen as parents and students interacted with the fourth graders.
Fourth grader Andrew Marji, who researched and presented President George H.W. Bush, said the project was “really fun.”
For the project Ms Mauro said the students had to work on memorizing their speeches.
“They have just been working so hard,” Ms Mauro said.