Students flex creativity, public speaking skills for research project

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Amelia Earhart, Neil Armstrong, Dr. Seuss and Leonardo Da Vinci were among the special guests at Duanesburg Elementary School in recent weeks. They were 3-D models created by fifth graders as part of an English Language Arts biography project. Students flexed their creativity and public speaking skills as they were inspired by heroes of the past and present. 

Each student chose a historical figure, wrote a research paper, created a model out of a 2-liter soda bottle and presented their work. 

“We had to recreate a historical person who changed peoples lives,” student Addison Kapusta said. She chose Earhart. “I picked her because she broke records and opened doors for women all over the world by showing you can do anything you put your heart to.” 

The impressive displays had the whole school talking. Student Richard Kantrowitz’s model of Walt Disney was inspired by a rumor that Disney was cryogenically frozen. His headless model was accompanied by a freezer. Student Gavin Grier took his peers to space with his model of Armstrong, complete with a moon-like surface and a replica of the Earth. 

“We are always quite impressed with the creativity and hearing how they were inspired by those they picked to write about,” teacher Chris Danapilis said, speaking on behalf of the fifth grade team that also includes teachers Jacob Armstrong and Richard Duff.

Student Vivienne Hyde picked Milton Hershey, who founded the Hershey chocolate company. 

“He inspired me to never give up on your dreams because of someone else,” Hyde said. 

“I picked Neil Armstrong because he inspired me to be a braver person,” Grier said.