Boxer Muhammad Ali, Actors Shirley Temple and Charlie Chaplin, civil rights leader Susan B. Anthony, First Lady Michelle Obama, children’s poet Shel Silverstein, comic book artist Stan Lee, “Simpson’s” creator Matt Groening—even 25-year-old Shaun White made it to the Sag Harbor Elementary School auditorium for this year’s Wax Museum.
Above: Max Mensch as “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening and Adam Arrequin as John Glenn.
The event, which took place last Thursday, April 5, marked the end of the annual biography project completed by the fifth-grade class at Sag Harbor Elementary School. After choosing a historic or otherwise accomplished person with his or her own biography, students were tasked with writing a report on that person, then taking on his or her appearance and posing, motionless, as if statues in a wax museum.
“There were books in a room and they gave us a choice,” explained Cooper Schiavoni who wore a grey wig and a white suit, and held a corn-cob pipe in his left hand. When asked why he picked the person he did, he simply said, “I thought this guy looked pretty cool.”
Schiavoni was of course referring to southern novelist Mark Twain. Standing next to him in a black turtle neck and jeans, Schiavoni’s friend Adam Janetti accessorized his costume by holding a black iPad.
“I read his whole biography,” Janetti said of the 600-page story of Steve Jobs, which was released last year. Janetti said he was particularly impressed with the fact that Jobs made a camera when he was in the third grade.
Malone acknowledged there was a healthy dose of technology-driven choices this year. These included prominent computer innovators, like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, as well as media moguls Mark Zuckerberg and Shigeru Miyamoto—never heard of him?
“Neither had I, when I got him,” Tristan Remkus admitted after removing a moppy, black wig.
Remkus said the biography he chose told the story of a boy who grew up in rural Kyoto, Japan, a land filled with mysteries.
“One day [Shigeru Miyamoto] was walking on a hillside when he realized it was a cave,” Remkus said. “He finally gathered the courage to enter, and he found out it was actually a ginormous, underground cave-tunnel.”
“He used it in his video games,” Remkus added.
These you may have heard of: Super Mario World, Donkey Kong, Zelda, among others. Of all the books in the room, Remkus said, “I was very happy that I saw one that had to do with Nintendo.”
This is part of the thrust behind the Wax Museum project, Malone explained.
“What’s really interesting about this project is that the children gravitate toward somebody that shares their interests,” he continued
“The piece that makes me so proud is the reports,” Malone added. It’s not about the name recognition or star quality, he said, “What the children really come to understand is their contribution to making people’s lives better.”