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Sixth-Graders Simulate Ellis Island Immigration Experience

What was it like to immigrate to America through Ellis Island around the turn of the 20th century? Mrs. Crump's sixth-grade history classes found out firsthand through a simulation experience on Feb 7.

Students were assigned the role of an immigrant from a particular country, complete with a name and details about their life. Then, they completed assignments which helped them immerse themselves in the role of their immigrant. Finally, they dressed as their immigrant and simulated going through an inspection on Ellis Island. Most of our "immigrants" passed and took the loyalty oath to become citizens, but sadly, a few were deported.

The simulation had special meaning for Charis Williams, who wore the actual outfit that her paternal great-great grandmother, Ellen Jane Owen (affectionately called "Nain" by her family), wore when she immigrated from Wales at age 19. Nain settled in Buffalo, New York, where she became a mother and a homemaker.

Thank you to the parents who volunteered to serve as the Ellis Island inspectors for making this experience possible.