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Wax museum offers glimpse of GMS students’ ambitions

Life imitated art Monday afternoon in Greenville Middle School’s cafeteria as the school’s fifth graders held its annual wax museum event.

The mock exhibit consisted of Greenville Middle School students posing—quite literally—as their potential future selves.  The cafeteria was full of NASCAR drivers, lawyers, zookeepers, professional baseball players and more.

Shari Powell, a teacher at Greenville Middle School, said that she tasked her fifth graders with choosing a career, researching it thoroughly and then defining the steps they would need to take to achieve that goal.

The whole project, she said, was meant to jumpstart their plans for life after high school.

“That was the purpose of it, because they will be sixth graders next year,” Powell said. “And that’s when you start preparing for your grades in order to be salutatorian or valedictorian. 

“They have to really start thinking out of the box, and I want them to have a chance to actually research something that they’re interested in becoming once they finish high school, college or the military.”

The students were a part of Greenville Middle School’s STEM program, a more advanced and rigorous project-based curriculum.

“We started last Monday—that’s all we did last week,” Powell added.

“I allowed them to go to the computer lab to do their research here at school, because some of our students do not have internet at home.  Anything they needed printed, they printed it in my classroom, or they went to the library of their own choosing and paid 10 cents to get their copy.”

Mason Pouncey, an 11-year-old fifth grader at Greenville Middle School, didn’t begin thinking about his chosen profession–a fishing guide–just last week.

According to him, he’s known since he was about four years old.

“My dad is one, and my cousin is one,” Pouncey said.  “My cousin runs them out of Destin, Fla.

Pouncey has spent his youth on fishing boats all over the world from an exceptionally young age.  He has lived briefly in locales as distant as Japan, Turkey and Alaska.

“I grew up in Japan for most of it, and we spent a lot of time at a marina,” he added. “When they’d be cleaning tuna, I’d be grabbing it, taking it and running off and eating it.  I’ve loved fishing ever since I was born.”

Pouncey performed an exhaustive level of research to detail the steps he would need to take to realize his dream.  Details include the type of fish he’d need to find, the type of people he’d find the resources necessary, and the sort of equipment he’d need.  He also researched the sorts of boat and motor he’d need, and even details as minute as preferred launch points to prevent the accumulation of rust on his boat.

Lastly, he looked into what it would take to obtain a guidance license, and the best means of obtaining a master’s degree in fisheries and marine biology.

Those are things he had been thinking about well before the wax museum, but he said that he was grateful for the ways the exhibit allowed he and his classmates to grow.

“To be honest, I’m not really a public speaker,” he said.  “When I have a group in front of me, I kind of clench up and get nervous. 

“But I think I found today pretty fun.  I got to know a lot about my classmates and what they want to be when they grow up.  And to be honest, it’s a great experience for all kids—it teaches them what to expect when they’re growing up.”