- Sponsorship -

Family ties help students bring historical Americans to life

Tommy Wiercinski portrays Alexander Hamilton, shortly after seeing him portrayed in the musical “Hamilton”

Central Elementary fifth-graders took on the roles of famous Americans for one night, and raised over $1,000 for charitable causes in the process.

Students researched notable historical people, then donned period garb and emulated wax museum figures. Visitors brought them to life by pushing an “on” button or making a donation. While sharing what they learned about their chosen figures, students raised $1,032.44 for Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and Family Promise of Grand Rapids.

Over 100 students took part, writing informational books and learning speaking skills to prepare for the school’s 19th annual “Big Night.” One of them, Tommy Wiercinski, researched and portrayed Alexander Hamilton. Just prior to his presentation, he saw the musical “Hamilton” in Chicago and got to meet the cast backstage.

Trent Schalow, aka Roy Rogers, with his great-grandparents Ron Sr. and Virginia Schalow, who are friends with the Hollywood cowboy’s son and daughter

Other students had family connections to the people they portrayed. Seth Peebles researched Admiral Raymond Spruance, the commanding officer of his great-grandfather, William Taylor Peach, who served in the South Pacific in World War II and delivered the atom bomb to the island of Tinian. Trent Schalow portrayed Roy Rogers, whom his great-grandparents, Ron Sr. and Virginia Schalow, once met and later became friends with his son and daughter.

“I feel that their special connection to the story of our country will instill a lifelong love of history,” teacher Lisa Monroe said of her students.

- Sponsorship -
Charles Honey
Charles Honey
Charles Honey is editor-in-chief of SNN, and covers Rockford and Grand Rapids. As a reporter for The Grand Rapids Press/mLive from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years and its columnist for 20. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today, Religion News Service and Faith & Leadership magazine. Read Charles' full bio or email Charles.


Good behavior encouraged at home

For students learning from home, positive behavior rewards are still possible...

Discovering bugs by tying flies

Northview’s coordinator of outdoor experiences, a fly-fishing aficionado, used the sport to teach elementary students about macroinvertebrates and making their own flies...

Pen pals build bonds during remote learning

How does a teacher create get-to-know-you opportunities for her new class of third-grade distance learners?

Have books, will deliver

To make sure virtual students still have access to books, this middle school media clerk built her own online platform for the library, created a contactless book pick-up at the school and is delivering books to students at their homes...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Schools, organizations step up to feed students, families

Area schools continue to provide free grab and go meals at regular distribution events and community partners are helping to fill in the gaps to make sure everyone is fed during a very challenging time...

Making merry music, from a safe distance

The holidays may look different this year, but Kenowa Hills students are still finding ways to lift spirits by sharing their musical talents...

Video series aims to fill teachers’ cups with appreciation

Kenowa Hills schools are sharing video messages of gratitude for teachers, just in time for a hope-filled holiday season...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU