SYRACUSE -- "I love my name," 11-year-old Kaylee Lewis said as she lifted the small handmade cartouche that hung on a string around her neck.
"My name is the best, because it is my name," Kaylee said.
While the cartouche was once worn only by pharaohs, each of the 112 sixth-grade students at Cook Elementary School made the simple cartouches as part of their Egyptian studies.
They celebrated on Wednesday with a special feast of food that might have been eaten by the early Egyptians.
"I didn't like the prunes, and I gagged on the barley," said Codie Talbot, draped in a lavender robe similar to what an early Egyptian might have worn. "It's really fun to learn there is such a difference between now and then."
Codie and many of her peers loved making death masks. These masks could be called living masks, as they were made by applying plaster strips on the students' faces.
"It was fun making our masks, because we used paint and got to do arts," Codie said.
Abbie Alvarado also enjoyed making the masks.
"Making the mask on the face felt good. It was almost like a massage," said Abbie, adding that she liked to decorate it with feathers.
She is looking forward to learning more about Egyptian culture.
"I plan to learn more about houses and how they were built -- they're built so different than ours," Abbie said.
Preston Call thought the food was pretty good, so he went back for seconds.
"I like the feast. I like everything except the barley and hummus. What I don't like is taking notes and stuff," Preston said.
Alexander Stock thought the goat cheese was the best part of the meal. He also said he thinks some of the ancient ideas have helped bring about some modern-day activities. He suggested the crane that was used then helped with the development of the cranes used now.
Dressing up in Egyptian costumes was Rick Dettlinger's favorite part.
"My mom just took a ton of stuff out and put it on me and I said good. I chose the makeup," Rick said. His mom had eyeliner in her purse, so she was able to decorate his face too.
This annual event has been held at Cook Elementary five times, said sixth-grade teacher Jamie Kovary. All four sixth-grade classes participated.