WAYZATA, Minn. (WCCO) — President’s Day is a federal holiday many people overlook, even if they have the day off work.
But a third grade class at St. Bartholomew School in Wayzata has been looking forward to the holiday for years. That’s because it’s the day they bring history to life.
Mr. Hanson’s third grade classroom has become a talking wax museum for the last eight years.
“We start out with research, that’ what we’re really trying to teach them, it’s how to do research,” Hansen said.
The students have been learning about the presidents since January.
“In class we watched a few videos about the presidents so I got to know a few of other ones,” said Genevieve Leali, who portrayed Theodore Roosevelt. “I liked him because of his glasses and because he’s on Mount Rushmore and he served for two terms,” Leali said.
Hanson explained that the kids drive the project. They start with broad information on the presidency and each get to dive in to research what they find interesting.
Quinn McCarthy picked Ulysses S. Grant.
“I kind of like the Civil War and I think it’s interesting that he was president and in the Civil War and the Mexican American War,” McCarthy said.
“Abraham Lincoln is my favorite president because in second grade we did pocket people and I was Abe Lincoln so I already knew a lot of stuff about him,” Andrew Groetz said.
Once the students refined their research, they got to design their costumes and figure out how to present the information they found on their posters.
As their teacher, Hanson doesn’t dress like a President. Instead, he plays the role of secret service agent, watching over his presidents.
“This is my 8th year doing this with the third graders,” Hanson said. “I learn something new about the presidents every year, which I find fascinating, you’d think by now I’d have all the facts.”
Hanson said he’s talked with some former students who are now in high school. They’ve told him they still remember which president they researched in third grade.