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FALCONS EDUCATION: Stepping back in time

FCHS students portray historical figures for World Builders Presentations

The Courier
Fort Campbell | May 25, 2017

Dressed in robes, fake beards and colorful hats, Fort Campbell High School students participated in the World Builders Presentations Wednesday at the high school.

Sophomore students in honors literature, honors world history, advanced placement world history and advanced placement European history portrayed more than 50 different figures during the presentation, including Nelson Mandela, Walt Disney and Margaret Thatcher.

This is the sixth year Iris Loucks, FCHS history teacher, and Kadie Duerr, FCHS English teacher, have organized the event. World Builders is a yearlong project that culminates with the presentations, Loucks said. During the year students are responsible for completing other assignments such as a research paper, a monologue and a newspaper article.

“These students have done extensive research on these people,” Duerr said. “They have done so many things throughout the year along with all of their other studies.”

Standing beside Audrey Hepburn, Princess Diana of Wales, portrayed by sophomore Trinity Mincey, graced the school’s commons during the presentations, parade waving to students passing by.

“I just love her. She’s my personal role model,” Mincey said. “All of the great things she’s done in the world, they just made me want to be her for this project. She’s helped so many people – the poor, the sick. She’s donated her time and money. I want to be able to do that with my life and donate my time and my money to help improve the lives of others.”

Mincey said when the students had to pick who they wanted to study, she immediately knew she wanted to research Princess Diana.

“We had a list of names to choose from and we had to choose three people off there and write a paragraph about them,” she said. “I chose Princess Diana, Mother Theresa and Issac Newton. I wrote two pages on Princess Diana, a page of Mother Theresa and a paragraph on Issac Newton to show that Princess Diana was my priority.”  The figures portrayed during World Builders Presentations are different every year. Students also are given the opportunity to introduce a world builder to be added to the list of options as long as they can defend why that person should be included, Duerr said. The figure has to be dead and they have to be someone who influenced the world in a positive way.

“World builders are movers and shakers,” Duerr said. “They shook things up in the world for the better, for people all around the world.”

Each student had a presentation board behind them with information about their figure. While some were decorated with printouts, many were hand decorated.

Mincey said she spent about 12 hours completing her presentation board. She said outlining and stenciling the letters took the most time.

Despite the work that went into the project, she really enjoyed researching Princess Diana’s life, Mincey said. 

“You do your research and you really get to dig into their life,” she said. “You read like every article ever written about them. You can watch stories about them online or on TV. If you dig around enough you can learn more than most people know, because most people just skim. Reading about Princess Diana and studying her, I love her even more.”

Some students went the extra mile by bringing in props and fully embodying their historical figure. Sophomore Tyler Twiss brought candles, rosaries and his own choral music to compliment his portrayal of the Pope. Next to him, Pablo Picasso, portrayed by Carleigh Franklin, sophomore, hand painted designs with acrylic paint for her fellow students.

Franklin stuffed her brushes into her shirt pocket and held her paint palette as she contemplated what her next painting would be. Using the Pope as her muse, she painted a portrait for him to display.

Although it was a lot of work to complete, Franklin said she did not mind too much because she had fun while learning.

“I feel like it was a great opportunity to learn so much about a specific person,” she said. “It was so much fun. My board was really fun to do too because I hand painted it by myself. It’s just been a really good learning opportunity for all of us.”

One row over, sophomore Mariah Wells, did her best Charlie Chaplin impersonation wielding his iconic black cane. Wells said she watched at least two full Chaplin films and multiple clips from his films just to master his walk and expressions.

“When we had to pick names I had never even heard of Charlie Chaplin,” she said. “Afterward I did some research on him and I saw that he was an actor and I really like acting. His character was pretty goofy and that’s how I like to act on stage, so it worked out great.”

Kate Burgoyne, watched proudly as her daughter, Chandler Burgoyne, dressed head to toe in costume armor, gripped her sword while portraying Joan of Arc during the World Builders presentation. Students and parents alike, both prefer project-based learning over traditional learning, Burgoyne said.

“I think [Chandler] really enjoyed doing this because it made it more fun to learn instead of it just being straight, boring facts,” she said.

Burgoyne said the two worked together to make Chandler’s portrayal of Joan of Arc a success.

“My daughter is a little bit of a procrastinator, but she had taken care of everything except for the costume, so thankfully Amazon saved us,” she joked. “The board was done in advance, so we had to try really hard to find something that looked similar to the picture on the board.”

After figuring out her armor, the two had to devise a plan for her sword.

“Her sword is a dollar store foam sword,” Burgoyne said. “We had to make it somewhat lifelike so we added some pieces of wood and taped it all up and covered it with aluminum foil.”

Despite their obstacles, Burgoyne said this was a great opportunity to spend time with her daughter.

“Thankfully it didn’t take a whole lot of creativity because we both would have been sunk,” she said. “Luckily it worked out well. It was a lot of fun. We haven’t done a group project together like this in a long time. The costume was the only part she would let me help her with.”

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