History came to life Tuesday at Sterling Elementary School.
Various men and women of historical significance sat around Ann Harper’s second-grade classroom Tuesday morning. Jackie Robinson, the first black player in Major League Baseball, sat across from Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in America, as well as Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to travel in space.
“I was a good writer, I wrote a book,” said second-grader Zoe Meekison, whose Elizabeth Blackwell costume included gray hair pulled up in a bun and a long dress that reached her ankles. “I was born on Feb. 3, 1821.”
Zoe, like each of Harper’s students, had handy an abundance of trivia about her chosen historical figure.
Harper’s class has been putting on a “Bringing History to Life” museum for years. She said each student chooses an important person from history to research. They read a biography then put together a book of facts to share with the rest of the school.
That work culminated Tuesday with the presentation, when the class dressed up as their chosen person. Other classes filed through and took turns guessing who the students were playing.
“I tell you about myself, and after I tell you about myself, you guess,” explained Samuel Edwards, who wore one of the hats made popular during the American Revolution.
Samuel said he was born in 1743, attended the College of William and Mary and served as the third president of the United States.
“Here’s a fun fact — when I got done reading books and practicing my violin, I would teach,” he said. “I would play the violin to old people and teach reading to other kids. And I wrote the Declaration of Independence. Who am I?”
Samuel revealed he’d chosen to be his favorite of the former U.S. presidents, Thomas Jefferson.
Nearby sat a fellow Revolutionary War hero, Betsy Ross, who waited patiently with a flag on her lap for someone to inquire about her story.
“I went to Quaker school, I had a sewing job and my hobby was sewing,” said second-grader Phoebe Cook, whose costume also included a white bonnet and apron. “My husband died in a war. I said I’d help by sewing flags, and I’m famous for sewing the American flag.”
Harper said the project gave her students an opportunity to connect with people from history.
“They learn how their lives are the same and how they’re different,” Harper said. “It lets them know that they, too, can be a world changer.”