Arnn Elementary students become changemakers for school project

By Sean Kimmons, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsMarch 22, 2024

Leo Jones, a fourth grader at Arnn Elementary School, portrays Leonardo da Vinci during a living wax museum event inside the school at Sagamihara Family Housing Area, Japan, March 21, 2024. Jones was one of several fourth graders to dress up as their favorite historical figure for the museum, the culminating event of a school project that began in the fall.
1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Leo Jones, a fourth grader at Arnn Elementary School, portrays Leonardo da Vinci during a living wax museum event inside the school at Sagamihara Family Housing Area, Japan, March 21, 2024. Jones was one of several fourth graders to dress up as their favorite historical figure for the museum, the culminating event of a school project that began in the fall. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL
Samuel Saxton, a fourth grader at Arnn Elementary School, portrays Genghis Khan during a living wax museum event inside the school at Sagamihara Family Housing Area, Japan, March 21, 2024. Saxton was one of several fourth graders to dress up as their favorite historical figure for the museum, the culminating event of a school project that began in the fall.
2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Samuel Saxton, a fourth grader at Arnn Elementary School, portrays Genghis Khan during a living wax museum event inside the school at Sagamihara Family Housing Area, Japan, March 21, 2024. Saxton was one of several fourth graders to dress up as their favorite historical figure for the museum, the culminating event of a school project that began in the fall. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL
Rowan Brown, a fourth grader at Arnn Elementary School, portrays a Navajo Code Talker during a living wax museum event inside the school at Sagamihara Family Housing Area, Japan, March 21, 2024. Brown was one of several fourth graders to dress up as their favorite historical figure for the museum, the culminating event of a school project that began in the fall.
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Rowan Brown, a fourth grader at Arnn Elementary School, portrays a Navajo Code Talker during a living wax museum event inside the school at Sagamihara Family Housing Area, Japan, March 21, 2024. Brown was one of several fourth graders to dress up as their favorite historical figure for the museum, the culminating event of a school project that began in the fall. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL
Jose Martinez, left, a fourth grader at Arnn Elementary School, portrays Albert Einstein during a living wax museum event inside the school at Sagamihara Family Housing Area, Japan, March 21, 2024. Martinez was one of several fourth graders to dress up as their favorite historical figure for the museum, the culminating event of a school project that began in the fall.
4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Jose Martinez, left, a fourth grader at Arnn Elementary School, portrays Albert Einstein during a living wax museum event inside the school at Sagamihara Family Housing Area, Japan, March 21, 2024. Martinez was one of several fourth graders to dress up as their favorite historical figure for the museum, the culminating event of a school project that began in the fall. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL

SAGAMIHARA FAMILY HOUSING AREA, Japan – With a bushy, gray wig and beard covering much of his face, Leo Jones resembled the picture of Leonardo Da Vinci on a display board behind him.

Jones, a fourth grader at Arnn Elementary School, also held a paintbrush and palette to transform himself into the renowned artist as he recited facts about him Thursday as part of a living wax museum.

“I chose Leonardo da Vinci because I like to draw,” he said. “And I really like how he accomplished so many things.”

Jones was one of several fourth graders to dress up as their favorite historical figure for the museum, the culminating event of a school project that began in the fall.

“It was a huge research project,” said Rosemarie Martin, a fourth-grade teacher. “And this is the final product, a changemaker wax museum.”

Martin said that after students picked an influential person, they researched and wrote a paper on them, and then created a monologue and board before presenting them in front of parents and other students.

“It really builds self-confidence,” she said. “And it pushes them to complete something, a project or a paper, in baby steps and those who aren't successful [at first], we can baby step them to be successful.”

Martin added the project covers all the standards for fourth grade, such as reading, writing, listening and speaking. It also inspires younger students who come to see the event, which has been held for four years.

“It's really important to spark interest in the young ones, too, so they can look forward to something in fourth grade,” she said.

This year, the museum was split in four classrooms to provide more space for student to educate others about their figure.

In the same room as Jones, Ashley Gibson, a fourth grader, clutched a microphone and dressed as Coretta Scott King, a civil rights leader.

Ashley Gibson, a fourth grader at Arnn Elementary School, portrays Coretta Scott King during a living wax museum event inside the school at Sagamihara Family Housing Area, Japan, March 21, 2024. Gibson was one of several fourth graders to dress up as their favorite historical figure for the museum, the culminating event of a school project that began in the fall.
1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Ashley Gibson, a fourth grader at Arnn Elementary School, portrays Coretta Scott King during a living wax museum event inside the school at Sagamihara Family Housing Area, Japan, March 21, 2024. Gibson was one of several fourth graders to dress up as their favorite historical figure for the museum, the culminating event of a school project that began in the fall. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL
Anna Lisboa, center, poses for a photo with her parents, Nelson and Yukari, during a living wax museum event inside Arnn Elementary School at Sagamihara Family Housing Area, Japan, March 21, 2024. Anna, a fourth grader, portrayed astronaut Sally Ride for the museum, the culminating event of a school project that began in the fall.
2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Anna Lisboa, center, poses for a photo with her parents, Nelson and Yukari, during a living wax museum event inside Arnn Elementary School at Sagamihara Family Housing Area, Japan, March 21, 2024. Anna, a fourth grader, portrayed astronaut Sally Ride for the museum, the culminating event of a school project that began in the fall. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL
Arnn Elementary School fourth graders dress up as their favorite historical figure during a living wax museum event inside the school at Sagamihara Family Housing Area, Japan, March 21, 2024.
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Arnn Elementary School fourth graders dress up as their favorite historical figure during a living wax museum event inside the school at Sagamihara Family Housing Area, Japan, March 21, 2024. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL
London Riley, left, a fourth grader at Arnn Elementary School, portrays Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani education activist, during a living wax museum event inside the school at Sagamihara Family Housing Area, Japan, March 21, 2024. Riley was one of several fourth graders to dress up as their favorite historical figure for the museum, the culminating event of a school project that began in the fall.
4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – London Riley, left, a fourth grader at Arnn Elementary School, portrays Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani education activist, during a living wax museum event inside the school at Sagamihara Family Housing Area, Japan, March 21, 2024. Riley was one of several fourth graders to dress up as their favorite historical figure for the museum, the culminating event of a school project that began in the fall. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL

During her research, Gibson said she became impressed with King, who was a singer who tried to bring people together with music and also helped establish Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a national holiday.

“I knew she was Mr. Martin Luther King's wife; I just didn't know that she did all of these things,” Gibson said. “She was a woman who always stood up for herself and for others, too.”

Brynn Riley and her husband, Capt. Matthew Riley, assigned to 1st Corps (Forward), said they enjoyed seeing the students’ efforts come to life.

As they prepared for the event, Brynn said many students chatted about their projects and shared materials to help each other.

“It's kind of been a community effort,” she said. “They've been working really hard on this and it's good to show them some support.”

Brynn said her daughter, London, became very interested in Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani education activist. As part of her research on the changemaker, London also read her biography, her mother said.

“She just really delved into it,” Brynn said, “and [also] found a love for biographies on other people and what they have done for the world.”

Matthew, who said their eldest child also did this school project last year, said it was important since it encourages students to dream big.

“It gives them the chance to look at the lives of people who have changed history and they can see them as role models,” he said. “Like, ‘Hey, when I get older, I can do something great like that too.’”

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