Students bring history to life during Judd Elementary’s wax museum


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NORTH BRUNSWICK – Wearing shorts, a North Brunswick t-shirt, a beard and a “bald head,” Ryan Cabrera Ortiz was certainly a doppleganger for a famous local soccer star.

Representing North Brunswick’s own Tim Howard, Ryan said he learned through research that Howard went through the soccer program in town, has Tourette’s syndrome and over compulsive disorder, and captained the Colorado Rapids and once played for the New York/New Jersey MetroStars.

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“Sometimes he goes on offense and scores a goal like me,” Ryan said of their similarities.

“I learned to never give up, to keep trying, to practice to be a good athlete,” he said.

Third grade students at Judd Elementary School brought history to life on March 5 at their wax museum, which had students step back in time to portray their favorite personalities.

Ruby Bridges, the first African-American child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana, was portrayed by Mildred Kissiedu, who said “no one should be judged by skin color.”

“I chose her because I know my skin color is brown like her … and I realized I could teach people to be friendly to other people, not just of their skin color, because we’re all different,” Mildred said. “I learned she helped changed the world because all people are equal. … I get to show people and spread the word about kindness.”

Madelyn Levin, donning a dress, bonnet and water jug, portrayed Molly Pitcher.

“She was part of America. She helped America,” Madelyn said. “She was a girl who did a lot and she fought in the war. She helped a lot of people.”

Ready for a jungle adventure, Anastasia Kalogridis read information about Jane Goodall.

“She studied animals and she liked them and I also like animals a lot,” she said of her choice. “She was really, really brave because some animals in nature, maybe they could hurt you, but she would go to them everyday and be friends with them.”

Disguised as Albert Einstein, with a lab coat and mustache, Mihir Simha said he never knew Einstein had to run from Hitler “who was trying to take over the world.”

“He was a great mathematician. He worked on the Theory of Relativity and I think that’s very cool. And he also won the Nobel Prize. If I won the Nobel Prize, I would be pretty excited about that.”

Isha Conteh did not know much about Mother Teresa, but now that she does, said she wishes she could meet her.

“She looked like a really good person to meet. I was really inspired. I was like, I really want to meet her really bad.”

Wearing a dress her mother bought and a veil her mom made, and donning a medal to represent the Nobel Peace Prize, Isha said, “I feel so good to be her for a day because she looks really inspiring to me. … She loves a lot of people who are poor and sick, and even if someone didn’t have food, she would give them some.”

Emily Roebling had to help her husband build the Brooklyn Bridge after he got sick.

“She studied a lot of things so she could help build it. I didn’t know her husband was sick and her father-in-law died and she was the one who started it,” her portrayer Chloe Koffke said, holding a replica of the bridge she, her sister and her grandparents made.

“I learned that you should always continue what you have started.”

Overall, the purpose of the project was to expand on third-grade skills, such as reading, writing, researching, public speaking and making eye contact.

“It’s hard work,” Madelyn said of the process that took about four weeks in class.

Anastasia said the project was fun because “you kind of get to be like her.”

“The really fun part is I get to see a lot of people I know and I get to say hi,” Mihir said of the entire third grade class participating in an activity together.

Contact Jennifer Amato at

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