FARMINGTON — Country Club Elementary School was enveloped by an atmosphere of excitement as fifth-grade students dressed as Harry S. Truman, Thurgood Marshall, Madeleine Albright and other important figures at the school's annual "wax museum" Thursday afternoon.

Students visited with friends, admired costumes and presentations, and learned research and public-speaking skills in the process.

Students eagerly look forward to the wax museum each year, said Pam Erickson, a fifth-grade teacher.

"They learn from each other, too," Erickson said. "We've even had parents say they learned."

Work on the project was completed by each student during school hours, teaching time management skills, Erickson said.

Teachers changed the project slightly this year. In the past, students would choose a historical figure they wanted.

This year, students drew the name of a historical figure from a list to ensure that each student presented on a different person and that there were no disputes about who presented on whom, Erickson said.

The project helped teach students research, computer, writing, public speaking and other skills, Erickson said.

"This is a fun way of incorporating these skills into life," she said.

The room was filled with about 88 students, each presenting a memorized 59 second speech about their historical figure while dressed in costume.

By all indications, the students enjoyed presenting their work.


"It was just really cool learning about her life," said Amber Aguirre, 10.

Aguirre was Maggie Lena Walker, the first female bank president in the U.S.

"At first I thought she would be pretty boring, but it wasn't," Aguirre said. "I can actually picture (her life)."

The project is not without its challenges.

"I think the hardest part was the 25 facts," said Allen Hilton, 10, who was Daniel Boone.