Leach seventh and eighth grade students took their school back in time this fall with a historic penny arcade. Based on the old wax museums the student took a famous person in history and brought them to life.

“Our seventh and eighth grade performed our first ever Penny Arcade,” said teacher Tracie Hix. “The students in our social studies class had to turn in an application to pick a certain person in history they could research and perform.”

Each student had to submit an application had to approve the person that they wanted to research and do a biography. The biography then had to be condensed to a summary and then an oral presentation. Each student created a costume that represented the person to use during the presentation.

“We had them spread out in the gym. And they each had a little solo cup in front of the. The students from the other classes would come through the door and be given a penny," Hix said. "It was set up kind of like a wax museum. They would get in character and stand in a pose.

"Then when someone dropped a penny in their cup they would come to life and say for example ‘Hi I am Amelia Earhart’ then they would tell about the person and then would go back to being stationary like a statue."

Hix said it was a good learning experience for the students.

“They had to learn research, writing, they had to do oral speaking. It was a really good activity for them. They had fun with it. The costumes they came up with were amazing," Hix said. "They had to memorize their parts they were going to speak. It was a like a living history. I couldn’t be more proud of them."

The schools provided the pennies for the students to put in the cups.

A total of 30 seventh and eighth  grade students performed.

Thoughts from students

Andy Blackfox chose Emmett Kelly the clown.

“I just thought it would be neat to dress up as a clown and make people laugh,” said Blackfox. “I learned it is harder to entertain people than I thought.”

“I picked Harriett Tugmon because she is a very memorable and proud African-American and a great woman,” said Navaeh Zunigah.” She helped hundreds of slaves escape and she led them to freedom. She is still very memorable today. Her face will soon be on the $20 bill.”

The project was enlightening for Zunigha.

“I had to research her and I learned a lot I didn’t expect. I found out that when she was born she was one out of 11 children and learned and she was an army scout for the US Army,” Zunigha said.

Jacob Kirk said it gave him a chance to portray one of his heroes.

“He was one of the most decorated soldiers in military history,” said Kirk. “I love military history. He ranked higher than anyone in military history. That is why I liked being his character.”

“I chose Winston Churchill because he had some interesting speeches, “said Trenton Trimble. “One of the most interesting things I learned about him was he was a prisoner of war during his military career and taken to a prisoner camp.”

Makayla Kirk it was about someone that peaked her interest because of her possible future career.

“I chose Elizabeth Blackwell because she was the first woman to graduate with a medical degree. She interests me because I am interested in going to medical school as well,” said Kirk. “One thing I didn’t expect was she was schooled by her father. That really surprised me.”

Tye Chancellor chose Baby Face Nelson and found out one interesting fact.

“He shot his first person when he was 7 years old shooting them in the jaw,” said Chancellor.

Tenley Morgan chose someone close to her heritage of being Native American.

“I chose Pocahontas because she is part of my heritage,” said Morgan. “She was very intelligent and strong for her time.”

Liberty Stevens it was Walt Disney who to her surprise made over 200 movies.

“He was an inspiration to dreamers,” said Stevens. “He told people to follow their dreams and you can achieve them.”

Others chose past presidents for their character.

“Most interesting about George Washington was that he was the commander in charge of the American army during the revolutionary war before becoming president of the United States,” said Carlos Balderos.

Christy Chamberlain chose Betsy Ross.

“I chose her because I am very interested in the American flag and it’s history,” said Chamberlain.

Helen Keller inspired Zoee Ward.

“She was an amazing woman in that she was the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelors degree,” said Ward.

Others chose sports superstars.

“I was a great runner in track and I just wanted to know more about her,” said Liberty Sanders. “I am in sports and I can really relate to her. The other thing was she was a strong Christian woman and her and her brother pray before every run.”

“I chose Michael Jordan because he was just a really great basketball player and I really look up to him,” said Chasey Tucker.

Hix feels it brought history to another level for the kids and plans to visit it again in the future.

“It was basically live history for the kids to understand history better, said Hix. “It was a lot of fun and very education for the kids and they loved it as well. We plan to do it each year.”

Students and their characters

Student - Andy Blackfox

Historic Character - Emmett Kelly – Person that created the memorable clown figure Weary Willie based on the hobos of the depression era.

Student – Nevaeh Zunigha

Historic Character – Harriet Tubman – Important person in African-American History

Student – Chloe Dollarhide

Historic Character – Elvis Presley – Rock n Roll Icon

Student – Caden Balderas

Historic Character – Sam Bradford – Former Oklahoma University quarterback

Student – Heavan Cocharan

Historic Character – Queen Isabella – Queen of Spain.

Student – Jacob Kirk

Historic Character – Audie Murphy –One of the most decorated soldier in military history.

Student- Drake Allen

Historic Character – John F. Kennedy - US President

Student – Trenton Trimble

Historic Character – Winston Churchill - British Prime Minister during World War II

Student – Brixey Watkins

Historic Character – Elizabeth Blackwell – The first woman in history to graduate medical school.

Student – Makayla Kirk

Historic Character – Florence Nightingale –Founder of modern nursing.

Student – Tye Chancellor

Historic Character – Baby Face Nelson –American bank robber.

Student – Skylar Troyer

Historic Character – Abraham Lincoln –US President.

Student – Grant Vann

Historic Character – Albert Einstein – Famous scientist

Student – Tenley Morgan

Historic Character – Pocahontas – Native American woman that helped colonials in Jamestown, Massachusetts.

Student – Bryant Odle

Historic Character – Martin Luther King Jr.

Student – Liberty Stevens

Historic Character – Walt Disney - Hollywood Filmaker

Student – Zylee Ward

Historic Character – Amelia Earhart – First woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean

Student – Carlos Balderas

Historic Character – George Washington – US President

Student – Christy Chamberlain

Historic Character – The woman who hand made the first American flag.

Student – Mongolia Lee

Historic Character – Sacagawea – Lemhi Shoshone Native American woman that help Lewis and Clark Expedition in their mission of exploring the Louisiana Territory.

Student – Alex Fleege

Historic Character –Billy the Kid – American gunfighter.

Student – Zoee Ward

Historic Character – Helen Keller – First deaf –blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Student – Emily Hardy

Historic Character – Ida Gay – First African American woman to become a dentist.

Student – Liberty Sanders

Historic Character – Jackie Joyner Kersee – Olympic runner

Student – Chasey Tucker

Historic Character – Michael Jordan – NBA and Olympic basketball player.

Student – Jaden Vann

Historic Character – Machine Gun Kelly –American Gangster

Student - Bailey Fields

Historical Character - Cheryl Swoops - WNBA Basketball Player

Bobbi Forman served as the teacher for the project.