Westerly class explores immigration

Irene and Madelyn dressed as immigrants on Trunk Day.

Are you an immigrant? If you said yes, you probably came to America by airplane. In our third-grade class, we learned about immigrants coming by ships in 1892-1954.

Trunk Day was a special day in school where we learned about immigrants by visiting different stations in the school cafeteria. We tried on clothes found in old trunks and suitcases. We also tasted food and presented two plays about immigrants and their journey.

The class was divided into groups and learned about families from different European countries. We had so much fun! In our old suitcases, we found old letters, diary entries, a doll, old dresses, shirts, suit coats, sweaters, vests, hats, jewelry and many more things.

We learned about families who really came to Cleveland. One family we learned about was the Levine family who immigrated from Russia in 1897. The three children brought their stamp collection with them. The father, Manuel, was a lawyer and judge. We also learned about the Shehan family who traveled from Ireland in 1841 and went to Canada. They moved to Cleveland in 1847 and raised 8 children. 

When we put some of the clothes on, we looked like daughters of immigrants. We looked like first-class passengers on our journey to America. We didn't look so happy when we took our picture because when we looked at real immigrant pictures, they didn’t smile. We wanted to act just like them.

One of our favorite stations was to try some food. Parents brought food from these places: Ireland, Italy, Greece, Russia and Hungary. Some of the food we tried was strudel, tea cakes, soda bread, cookies, tzatziki and pita. Our favorite was the strudel. We had a fun morning learning all about immigrants!

Irene Szambecki and Madelyn Hughes

third-graders at Westerly Elementary

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Volume 11, Issue 24, Posted 10:19 AM, 12.17.2019