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Middle Gate Living Biographies



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Middle Gate Living Biographies

By Eliza Hallabeck

Margaret Hamilton once again donned her “Wicked Witch” persona, Martha Stewart had a pie ready to serve, and with a tip of his hat, Phineas Taylor Barnum began his speech, after removing the stuffed gorilla from his top hat, of course.

Parents, siblings, and relatives were invited to Middle Gate School on Friday, April 29, for the fourth grade’s presentation of “Living Biographies,” an annual event that has each student research a historic Connecticut figure, dress in character, and act as that person for visitors. Each student had a speech ready in character when asked who they were on Friday.

“Can you guess who I am?” said Lindsey Gallagher. “Here are some hints: When you think of the Wizard of Oz, you may think of me. My hat is black and pointy, and my shoulders are bent forward like broken wings. My screeching laugh has scared generations of children.”

Lindsey was playing the role of Margaret Hamilton, the Connecticut native who came to fame for her role as the Wicked Witch of the West.

Like Lindsey, each fourth grade student in Linda Baron, Heidi Beauty, Tisha McCoy, John Sullivan, and Morgan Hill’s classes presented their projects on Friday.

“The students research someone who has a Connecticut connection,” said Ms Beauty. “After collecting all their research, they wrote a biography about the individual. And for today’s presentation they dressed up as the person they researched and they are acting as if they are them.”

Some students made posters, some made PowerPoint presentations, and some brought props, like Brianna Lovely, who was Martha Stewart for the day.

Multiple Mark Twains, Nathan Hales, Phineas Taylor Barnums, who is better known as P.T. Barnum, were represented throughout the classrooms. Other students chose people more obscure, but not necessarily less famous.

Kristina Goeree asked, “Do you know who Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra is?”

Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra’s showname is Meg Ryan, Kristina added.

“Do you know who I am now?” Kristina asked in character. “You probably do. I was born November 19, 1961, in Bethel.”

Asani Vessup was Amos Beman for the day.

“I was born in Colchester in 1812,” Asani said in character.

He further explained that Mr Beman was a religious leader in New Haven and a national leader in the middle 19th Century.

“I wanted slavery to end, everyone to have the right to vote, and everyone to have an equal education,” said Asani.

A slideshow of photos from the event is available at www.newtownbee.com.

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