BEHS’s Annual Wax Museum


Renancy Joseph

Akeera Standing near her "Anita Hill" board smiling

Blanche Ely High School traveled back in time to paint the vivid history and accomplishments of African Americans and Blacks in its annual wax museum. Hundreds of students and community leaders gathered to watch as participants, dressed in character, presented various black historical figures. Participants were spread across the gym distinctively dressed, standing near their boards, speaking to those who passed by. They completely assumed the lives of their characters and gave presentations emphasizing their significance to black history.

Connie Mcgirt, sponsor and supervisor of the event, says that this is her third year “bringing this vision [of hers] to life.” Throughout her many years of teaching, she said she has learned that students learn more when things are hands-on, thus requiring her students not only do their presentations but to also “dress the part.” The museum took place on February 10 and February 11 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., hosting a variety of displays. Some of the displays also included more modern figures such as Barack Obama, Oprah, and Lauryn Hill.

“[Today] I feel as I, myself, am apart of history,” expressed Blanche Ely high school senior and participant, Jamia Pierre. In a school this large, it is important that students feel as though they are seen. Given that a majority of Blanche Ely’s students are black, black history month is usually stressed. It is important that students are able to relate and understand the merit of black history month not only to history, but also to modern-day life.

As Italia Lewis, student and participant of the event, perfectly said, “black history is our history.” McGirt has done an excellent job of ensuring that students are given the chance to be aware of their history and to be proud of themselves. Nyla Lormeus explains, “We came a long way…that’s why I love black history month. Without black people, we wouldn’t have a lot of things”


When asked about the importance of the exhibit, Audrey Rozier explained that the museum showcased different people in black history who really made an impact. She continued to explain that the museum was a means to educate the Blanche Ely highschool population about all historical figures besides the ones “who are talked about daily.” “Like me personally I didn’t really know who half the people who were here [were]”, she continued to explain that the museum was an opportunity for herself to be educated and she was “grateful” for the experience.

Another student, Scaldie Louis, responded that she believed that the exhibit gives life to the characters. Rather than reading about them in history books or online, the museum gave students an opportunity to examine the characters’ lives and values that pushed them to become the person they are now known for today.

Ultimately, Blanche Ely was able to reach its goal of “ [bringing] awareness” to its students by the large contributions of Connie Mcgirt and her students. After learning about the numerous contributions blacks and African-Americans have made to industrialization and the progression of America, Nyla Lormeus proudly claimed: “We, [black and African-American people], built this country”. Hopefully, other students were able to understand and to take as much pride in their history as Nyla.