Posts Tagged ‘Ellis Island’

After two successful field trips with R’s class, I was very excited to finally be going on a field trip with A’s class.  So, on Monday morning after the extra long Thanksgiving weekend A and I headed out on a beautiful, crisp, sunny day. We walked to the school playground to meet the rest of her classmates to go on our big field trip adventure to Ellis Island.  This wasn’t a kindergarten trip, this was a third grade trip and we would be out of school for the full day.  I was armed with my lunch, sunglasses, iPhone and tylenol (just in case).  Off we ventured to the Subway where much to the dismay of the daily commuters, 24 energetic and loud students, plus chaperones boarded two cars of the train to ride it all the way to the very end of lower Manhattan- South Ferry.

The woman with the book must be able to block out anything =)

Once we all arrived in lower Manhattan we headed to the Ellis Island Ferry, but not before our little third grade goof balls took a quick class photo on the statue of immigrants.

A's third grade class acting like third graders =)

Due to the fact that the Ellis Island Ferry also stops at Liberty Island where the Statue of Liberty resides, the security is extremely strict to get on to the ferry.  I told A not to worry about it, that it was just like getting on an airplane.  To which she responded that she had never been on an airplane (except when she was 4 months old).  Oops, I really am a bad mommy!  Once we made it through security we boarded the ferry and enjoyed a beautiful ride to Ellis Island.  The views of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty were incredible.

Lady Liberty

D, J & A on the ferry

Lower Manhattan

A and the Lady

Once we arrived on Ellis Island the students were treated to an extremely informative interactive tour of the building itself and all of the various steps that immigrants faced when arriving on Ellis Island with all of their hopes and dreams tied to their new life in America.  Not only did they have to struggle with surviving the pricey passage across the Ocean, most of them in tiny, cramped Steerage quarters, they were also subjected to numerous tests upon arrival.  This included passing the medical, financial and mental tests before you were able to be re-united with family.  The good news is that 90+% were eventually admitted into the United States but I can only imagine the hardship and stress that this journey would have caused.  I guess it is a small price to pay for freedom and opportunity.  The students had numerous questions throughout the day and were engaged and well behaved.

Our tour guide, explaining how groups were separated

Ellis Island Immigration Center

I think most of them left with some sense of how lucky they were to be living in this country.  They all realized that at some point they or one of their family members had been an immigrant.  A. was proud to raise her hand as a new immigrant to the United States.  I even felt a bit choked up when I thought about our journey here and how we had made a decision to move to this country just like my father’s family had so many years before.  One thing I can say, is that I am very glad that we did it in 2010 and NOT 1910!!

Overall, a wonderful day and learning opportunity for one and all.  And, I didn’t even need the tylenol although I sure did sleep well that night.  Whoa, kids are exhausting 😉

Heading Home Sweet Home

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