Rohnert Park students study up and act out as historical figures

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At the outdoor quad at Lawrence Jones Middle School on Friday morning, seventh and eighth graders heard William Shakespeare talk about writing his great plays, Buddha explain his journey from being a prince to finding enlightenment and Joan of Arc describe her fabled military battles.

About 120 students are in the Rohnert Park school’s Expeditionary Learning program, which includes hands-on, interdisciplinary and project-based curriculum. Half of the students gave nine-minute monologues Friday dressed as a historical figure of their choice between 2000 B.C. to 1700 A.D. for a project called “Historical Imposters.” The other half gave presentations to their peers on Tuesday.

“These kids learn to enjoy public speaking and presenting. They work their way up to it,” said Elisa McCreary, a parent volunteer. “They’re all really supportive of each other.”

McCreary has an art-loving 14-year-old daughter, Sierra, who chose to be Michaelangelo. She wore black leggings, a baggy white linen shirt smeared with paint, a faux leather apron and a fake beard stuck firmly on her chin with double-sided tape. Her presentation was based on a =10-page paper she wrote about Michaelangelo.

“She did great. She absolutely loves it,” McCreary said. Many found ways to be creative with their costumes. Some made belts, or used cardboard to create faux axes.

You can reach Staff Writer Susan Minichiello at 707-521-5216 or

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