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Forest Hills Catholic academy’s bilingual live wax museum highlights influential Hispanic figures

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A fourth-grade student poses in front of her poster board presenting Cuban American singer Celia Cruz. (Photo courtesy of Diocese of Brooklyn)

Fourth-grade students at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Academy in Forest Hills presented a live bilingual wax museum on Friday, Feb. 4, as they concluded their celebration of Catholic Schools Week. 

Academy students and parents had the opportunity to tour the student-created museum that featured 22 influential figures from the past and present that come from Hispanic countries. Those figures included former baseball player Alex Rodriguez, the “Queen of Salsa” Celia Cruz, singer Bruno Mars, politician and activist Evita Peron, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and famed artist Pablo Picasso. 

A student presents his poster board of former baseball player Alex Rodriguez. (Photo courtesy of Diocese of Brooklyn)

As part of the Catholic Schools Week special project, students studied the lives of these famed figures, created costumes and prepared special presentation boards to be featured in the museum. 

A student dressed up as singer Bruno Mars. (Photo courtesy of Diocese of Brooklyn)

The students posed and waited until visitors pushed the red button. Then they came alive and relayed important facts about their lives in both English and Spanish.

Cuban ballet dancer Alicia Alonso. (Photo courtesy of Diocese of Brooklyn)

Dana McCann, principal of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Academy, said the exhibit showcased who they are as a school community, with a group effort of parents, teachers and students. 

“The students were able to utilize their research and public speaking skills to make these figures come to life. The students were so proud, and so was I, in what we accomplished today,” McCann said. 

Sandra Paz, who teaches Spanish at the academy, said the project helped students understand the real-world connection, that Spanish is not just a vocabulary list in a classroom. 

“With this experience, our students learned that anyone from any part of the world can aspire to be a teacher in their field,” Paz said. 

A student presents U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. (Photo courtesy of Diocese of Brooklyn)

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