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Lakeside seventh-graders stage living museum
Evelyn Irish performs her monologue as “Gone with the Wind” star Vivien Leigh while her mother records it during a Living Museum at Lakeside Middle School. - photo by Micah Green

EAST FORSYTH — Lakeside Middle School may have been the only place on the planet Wednesday and Thursday that you could meet John Wayne, Al Pacino, Vivien Leigh and Tyra Banks.

And it was all thanks to the Living Museum, a post standardized test project that took a look at the history of movies and the stars that defined them.

“Basically, we wanted to do something really cool with the kids that would keep them interested and engaged after the tests,” said seventh-grade teacher Kim Driesse.

“This was the language arts portion, and was aimed at elementary school kids who have middle school tour guides that take them from the 1920s through the present.”

Lakeside seventh-graders have been working on their characters for nearly a month, and that was readily apparent in the presentations.

Jasmine Williamson chose to research and perform as Kathryn Beaumont, who voiced and was the visual model for Alice in Disney’s 1951 cartoon Alice in Wonderland.

“It’s been awesome watching the kids and seeing their faces,” she said. “They are really interested in this stuff, even if they don’t know who I am at first.”

But it wasn’t just elementary school students who got the privilege of seeing the historic renditions. Parents and grandparents were invited to see their children in character.

Jolaine Irish, the grandmother of seventh-grader Evelyn Irish, made a six-hour drive from Alabama with her husband, Dana. They came to see their granddaughter perform as Vivien Leigh, probably most famous for her role as Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind.”

“When I first talked to Evelyn about Vivien, I was telling her that I was 15 the first time I read the book ‘Gone with the Wind,’ and that I stayed up until 4:30 in the morning to finish it,” Irish said. “Then Evelyn said to me, ‘It was a movie, not a book.’”

Irish laughed. “Well now she knows, it was a book long before it was a movie.”