Humboldt students tackle history

Seventh graders dressed as famous Kansans and gave presentations as part of the annual Wax Museum event at the middle school. Those featured included Joe Exotic, John Brown, Amelia Earhart and more.



May 14, 2021 - 3:25 PM

Maxtyn Mueller portrays Coach Dean Smith and Carol Henderson is Carrie Nation at the Humboldt Middle School’s Wax Museum Wednesday. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

Joe Exotic, the Tiger King, and other celebrities visited Humboldt Middle School Wednesday to talk about their ties to Kansas.

“My interest in the beloved felines started when the local game warden called me about two abandoned tigers that were roaming around town. I captured the tigers, stuck them in my zoo and fell in love with them immediately,” Exotic said. “When I reached my peak I had 176 furry little buddies. I took the tigers on the road to fairs and malls. That’s how I met stupid Carole Baskin.” 

OK, so the real Joe Exotic is actually serving time in a federal prison for the attempted murder-for-hire plot to kill Carole Baskin, the CEO of Big Cat Rescue.

Humboldt seventh-grader Mason Sterling portrays Joe Exotic, the Tiger King.Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

This Joe Exotic was Humboldt seventh-grader Mason Sterling, who dressed as the infamous native Kansan for the school’s fifth annual Wax Museum.

The Wax Museum is an exhibit where seventh-graders impersonate a famous Kansan. The students pose as wax figures until someone pays a quarter to listen to their presentation. 

The program teaches students about Kansas history, how to put together a presentation, and public speaking skills, teacher Scott Brady said. 

John Brown, the famous abolitionist, made an appearance courtesy of Avion Seamster. 

Brooke Berkenmeier, left, is artist John Stuart Curry and Darryl Farrill is Paul Rudd at the Wax Museum. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

“I did not have a lot of education,” Seamster said. “I wanted to become a preacher but things took a bit of a detour for me and I opened my own tannery. This isn’t a tannery where you get your skin tanned. We tanned animal hides.”

As Seamster explained, Brown traveled to Kansas to convince the people not to allow slavery when the state was admitted into the Union. He was hanged for his role in a raid on Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia in 1859.

Creed Shannon portrays Wyatt Earp.Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

Teghen Jaro portrayed Joanna Gaines, television personality, designer and entrepreneur. She was born in Wichita and moved to Texas as a child. While studying communications at Baylor University, she served as an intern for Dan Rather and met her husband, Chip Gaines. After having children, she started a blog called “Magnolia Mom.”

“One day, Chip and I were flipping a house, kind of on the side, when HGTV reached out to us for a home renovation show,” Jaro said. “I thought it was a scam but luckily it wasn’t and in 2031 our first episode of fixer-upper aired and the show was a hit. Millions of people loved watching us flip houses.”

Aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart of Atchison stopped by thanks to a delightful presentation by Emmie Hole.

“I was kind of a tomboy. When I was a kid in the winter I’d hop on my sled and shoot down the snow like a rocket,” Hole described Earhart’s early life.

Rylee Woods is Jeff Probst.Photo by Vickie Moss

Earhart eventually learned to fly and became the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, among other records.

Earhart liked to buck the system, even when it came to marrying publisher George P. Putnam.

“As the early 1900s went you get married and you lose your freedom. I said, let’s work around this. We called it a dual partnership. I kept my last name and my freedom, and he kept… me. We’re still trying to figure out if that was a good idea or a bad one. We’ll get back to you.

Avion Seamster is John Brown.Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

“After an amazing decade of conquering the aviation industry and setting many records, then came my final flight. It’s kind of depressing knowing what happened.”

Earhart, her plane and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared in 1937 during a fight aimed at circumnavigating the globe. She was declared dead in 1939.

A list of students and the celebrities they portrayed follows:

Sports figures

Carson Russell: Clint Bowyer

Maddox Wehlage: Jeff Emig

Karsen Lampe: Barry Sanders

Grady Elder: Gale Sayers

Tori Melendez: Lynn Dickey

Josey Ellis: Christie Ambrosi

Logan Hutton: Darren Daulton

Aiden Galloway: Adam LaRouche

Laney Hull: Jackie Stiles

Taner King is Phil Ehart.Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

Grace Reno: Cassie Wait

Harleigh Anderson:Elvira Bender (virtually)

Alyssa Ballard: Chase Austin (virtually)

Elizabeth Romine: Kelsey Stewart

Anapaula Franco: Jacie Hoyt

Skylar Hottenstein: Taylor Robinson

Braxton Gray: Wilt Chamberlain

Layne Ellison: Brent Champan

Maxtyn Mueller: Dean Smith

Mark McCullough: James Naismith

Historical figures

Carol Henderson: Carrie Nation

Emmie Hole: Amelia Earhart

Creed Shannon: Wyatt Earp

Carson Peters: Roscoe Arbuckle

Kalyn Baughn: Gordon Parks

Savannah Koch: Nancy Kassebaum

Avion Seamster: John Brown


Lilly Reeder: Vivian Vance

Teghen Jaro: Joanna Gaines

Brooke Berkenmeier: John Stuart Curry

Bailee Berkenmeier: Rita Blitt

Darryl Farrill: Paul Rudd

Rylee Woods: Jeff Probst

Mason Sterling: Joe Exotic

Alex Wille: Martina McBride

Baelee Gosser: Erin Brokovich

Taner King: Phil Ehart

Aiden Hartman: Danny Carey

Infamous Kansans

Lilly Albin: Kate Bender



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