What do Walt Disney, Burt Reynolds and Matt Gaetz have in common? They were all born in Florida and were all at Destin Elementary School on Wednesday. Kind of.
Every year, the fourth-graders present a “Famous Floridian Wax Museum.” The students had to write a research paper, create a tri-fold presentation, make a one- to three-minute speech and dress up as the famous Floridian of their choice.
For 10-year-old Maci Kendall, her choice to represent Congressman Matt Gaetz was a personal one.
“My husband passed away last year and he had helped Matt with a lot of his campaigning efforts,” said Jill Kendall, Maci’s mom. “(Maci) was in Matt’s very first campaign video when she was around 2 years old.”
“We considered Maci’s father very much a member of our family,” said Don Gaetz, Matt Gaetz’s dad.
Maci dressed in Matt’s traditional blue suit and red tie, wore a short-haired wig and held a Fox News microphone as her prop.
“Her hair was a lot more full than Matt’s,” Don said with a chuckle.
To make the presentation feel like a wax museum, the students had to “freeze” until a visitor pushed a “button” — a tag that was pinned on their costume. Once the button was pushed, the character came “alive” and gave a speech about his or her life.
Maci began her presentation by saying “Joining us today on Fox News is Congressman Matt Gaetz.”
She then held up the microphone and began her speech. She talked about where Matt was born, where he went to school, his job before he was elected, the key issues he supports and that he has two dogs and a cat.
“She was very polished and her performance reminded Vicky (Matt’s mom) and me of Matt at that age,” Don said. “Vicky was brought to tears at how cute this wonderful little girl was and also the representation of our son.”
Her display included various photos and facts about Matt. One photo showed her dad standing next to Matt when Matt was sworn in to Congress.
“He was the only one there who wasn’t Matt’s family or staff,” Jill said.
Maci had put a small sign on top of the picture that said ‘my dad’ with an arrow pointing to him.
“That was one of the more poignant parts of the exhibit,” Don said. “We were very touched.”