Honoring A Tradition
On the very first day of class in 2016, in the very first minutes of the first hour, 5th grade students at Jane Ball Elementary were asking about the annual Wax Museum. For most of the students, who have attended Jane Ball since Kindergarten, they looked forward to the day when they become a 5th grader in Lynn VanMeter’s class and perform in the Museum. This year, the students were worried, Mrs. VanMeter retired and a new teacher stood before them, Dan LaMere.
“They asked me if we were doing the Wax Museum on the first day of school,” said Mr. LaMere with a smile. “I didn’t know what the Wax Museum was, but when I found out I knew right away that this was a tradition that I wanted to honor. When I told them we were doing this and they cheered,” he said with a smile.
Traditions are important, but above and beyond being a tradition, the Wax Museum is an opportunity for students to independently investigate historical and influential individuals. The students are graded in both Social Studies and English on the written report they write that provides the information for their performances. Most of the work is done outside the classroom and completed in just a few a short weeks.
Particularly noticeable this year, was a lack of pop icons. All of the figures chosen by the students had important historical or social significance. It was a delight to see students choose characters from a wide variety of eras and venues. Lined up in categories from sports, to musicians, to authors, to cultural and historical figures to modern day technology the students were nervous during rehearsals, but the presence of the founder of the Museum, Lynn VanMeter went a long way toward calming those nerves. “I really haven’t done very much,” she said, with her trademark humility. She was on hand to answer any questions Mr. LaMere had, as well as organizing the staging of figures and attending rehearsals.
So what did the students have to say the afternoon before their big AM performance? A few of them were more than willing to share their thoughts.
“I picked Rosa Parks,” said Payton Antkiewicz, “Because she inspires people, no matter what color they are. “ Like most of her classmates Payton did her research on the internet. “I like that she stood up for people.”
Kaitlyn Duffy chose Marie Curie and it took her quite a while to decide who to portray. “My Mom helped me look at famous women on the internet,” said Kaitlyn. “When she asked if I’d like to be Marie Curie, I asked her what she did and my Mom told me she was a famous chemist. I actually know a chemist and I found the information about Marie Curie very interesting.”
It was an easy choice for Alex Garcia who portrayed author, Charles Schultz. “His birthday is on the same day as the Wax Museum and I really like Charlie Brown. He’s a very responsible character,” said Alex.
Ethan Goodlander chose Jerry Ross, the astronaut and local hero largely because he himself bears a striking resemblance to Mr. Ross. Ethan was very happy that Mr. LaMere agreed to do the Wax Museum, but admitted to being a bit frightened at the prospect of performing in front of the entire student body and visitors.
Not all students were worried about performing in front of the large crowd that attends the Museum. “I like that you get to use a microphone and talk to the entire school,” said Joey Krumdieck who chose to portray Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft. “I wanted someone who has really made a mark in technology,” said Joey.
Others performing in the Wax Museum were: Brock Allen as Brett Favre, Marco Barajas as Johnny Appleseed, Maddie Bower as Jane Ball, Caroline Donaldson as Anne Frank, Keirstynn Elder as Florence Nightingale, Jordan Finck as Helen Keller, Kaleb Goldasich as Anthony Rizzo, Chloe Hovver as Sacagawea, Addison Jewitt as Cleopatra, Cameron Kenney, as Rosie the Riveter, Joey Lpez as Houdini, Richard Lenney, as Albert Einstein, Noah Moody as Martin Luther King, Miles Origal as John Lennon, Claudia Ortiz as Mother Theresa, Kyle Perez as Michael Jordan, Jace Selva Foreman as Larry Bird, Jacob Viehmanas Michael Phelps, Navaeh Vargas as Selena Quintanella, Teylor Stilley as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Andrea Seally as Emelia Earhart and Jack Wright as Steve Jobs.
Great job by all of the Jane Ball students and of course, the two best ‘wax coaches’ in the history of the school, Dan LaMere and Lynn VanMeter.
Deborah Snedden has been the Principal at Jane Ball Elementary School since the beginning of the 2013-2014 academic year. Mrs. Snedden is a native of Crete, Illinois with a special tie to Cedar Lake. Her husband, Mark Snedden, is a former Hanover alumni. They are the parents of a blended family of seven and currently reside in Crown Point.
Prior to becoming the Principal of Jane Ball, Mrs. Snedden served as the Curriculum Director at Hammond Academy of Science and Technology, following fifteen years of teaching in the Crown Point schools. She is a graduate of Crete-Monee High School with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Purdue Calumet, a Master’s in Educational Administration from Ball State and is currently working on her PHD from Indiana State University. Mrs. Snedden has been a presenter at professional development workshops and has worked with the Mathematics Department at Purdue Calumet to bring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning to life at Jane Ball.
As she walks through the halls of Jane Ball the students smile and high five’s are the norm rather than the exception. “I’m here to make sure these kids are 21st century learners. What they’ll need to know to succeed in life starts right here,” said Snedden. “I have a passion for collaborating with students, teachers and parents.”
December Dates To Remember
Now through January 13 - Speak Up Survey (Please visit "District Home" for details and to participate)
Dec. 3 - Family Field Trip to Museum of Science and Industry - 10:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Dec. 5 through 8 - Santa's Secret Shop Week
Dec. 8 - PTO Meeting @ 3:30 p.m.
Dec. 8 - Holiday Choir Concert (1st and 2nd Grade) in the West Gym at Hanover Central High School 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 13 - Hanover Community School Corporation Board Meeting @ 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 19 through Jan. 2 - Holiday Break
Fidget or Focus..a Donor's Choose Project