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NJ History Comes Alive At Forest Avenue

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It's The Boss!

Bruce Springsteen was at Forest Avenue School this week. So were Jon Bon Jovi, Derek Jeter and Jason Kidd. No, the school wasn’t holding a rock concert or a sports event. It was something even better: The fourth grade’s New Jersey Wax Museum project.

Forest Avenue has been doing the Wax Museum for the past five years as a way to teach state history and the fine points of public speaking. The students, under the direction of fourth grade teachers Elizabeth Buzaid and Debbie Gero, choose a famous New Jersey figure, either living or dead, from any era. This year the choices ranged from Elizabeth Haddon, a colonial-era immigrant to New Jersey, to Lauryn Hill, the South Orange native who started the hip-hop group the Fugees in the 1990s. There were businesspeople like Benjamin Annin, founder of Verona’s own Annin Flag Company, and sports figures like Anthony Fasano, the former VHS football star who now plays with the Miami Dolphins.

"Seinfeld" actor Jason Alexander was born in Newark and grew up in Livingston.

“Sports figures are quite popular,” says Buzaid, “and we’ve had repeats from year to year. However it is truly amazing how many famous New Jerseyans there are. This year we had over 26 new personalities!”

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Once they’ve made a choice, the kids have three to four weeks to create a one-page, typed report about their famous New Jerseyan. From that they develop an oral presentation that they are encouraged to practice in school and at home. This past Tuesday, the kids dressed as their famous person and assembled in the gym to await visitors. But unlike Madame Tussauds, the famous figures in Forest’s Wax Museum deliver a highly interactive performance about their New Jersey celebrity. Each stands frozen until a museum visitor pretends to push a button to activate their character. We’ve captured some of their performances on the videos below and on MyVeronaNJ’s YouTube site.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]

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