NORTH BENNINGTON — As part of a long-standing annual tradition, the older students at the Village School of North Bennington have once again donned the raiments of famous figures, some long gone and others just beginning their lives' journeys, to present "Night of the Notables."
When the 15 members of the fourth-grade class showed off their costumes and reports on Thursday, it was actually just one of three nights that notables will descend upon the Village School gymnasium this year. The fifth grade presented their notables last Thursday, Jan. 28, and the sixth grade class will have their night next Tuesday, Feb. 9. Sixth grade teacher Pat Gibbons, who started the tradition many years ago and runs it to this day, said that the report the students wrote to go along with the project was one of the longest they had written in their educational careers to this point.
After each of the students stood on the stage and introduced themselves and gave a short biography, they performed a group song, then took their places in the "biography museum" to answer questions from parents and community members. "I don't think any of these people knew that they would be portrayed by fourth graders in North Bennington, Vt.," said Gibbons, standing on stage with the students, "Yet, here we stand."
The members of the fourth grade class were Billy Baldwin as magician Harry Houdini; Brayden Baldwin as pioneer and congressman Davy Crockett, the oldest notable of the group; Mason Crosier as filmmaker Walt Disney; Logan Davis as Baseball Hall of Famer Babe Ruth; Maya Davis as gold medal-winning Romanian Olympic gymnast Nadia Comaneci; Gianna Farry as Anne Frank, whose diary showed the world the horrors of living as a Jewish girl in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands; Lilly Harris as Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling; Armen Kazazean as chemist and engineer Alfred Nobel; Malajhya Laws as Malala Yousafzai, who won a Nobel Peace Prize after she was almost murdered by the Taliban for saying that girls should receive an education; Sadie Lentzner as American soccer star Mia Hamm; Finn McRae as prolific author Charles Dickens; Iris Nofziger as pilot Amelia Earhart; Cyra Pacher as Nobel Prize-winning chemist Marie Curie; Mason Schade as Sir Paul McCartney of the Beatles; and Jack Thurber as Star Wars creator George Lucas.
Gibbons noted after the event that several of her former students, now students at Mount Anthony Union High School, were in attendance, and not only looked back fondly at their own Night of the Notables experiences, but even remembered the words and sang along with the song the students performed.