By Olivia Hampel
What was the immigration process like to the United States a hundred years ago? What were the living conditions? The Humanities class of William Penn High School did a field trip to New York City to find answers for those questions.
On September 29, the Humanities class of 2016/17 of William Penn High School went on a field trip to New York City in order to learn more about the immigration process to the US in the past.
“We decided to go to New York because the trip connected to what we were studying in class which was immigration and industrialization,” Beth Greenstein, one of the Humanities teachers, said. “We thought when the kids can see it first hand they would learn and internalize it better.”
But the trip not only had educational reasons, “It’s also a time for us to bond as a group and come together outside of the classroom to get to know each other. When there is a strong class community kids work harder and better,” Greenstein explained.
First, they went to the “Tenement Museum,” which illustrated how the daily life of immigrants looked like and how the living conditions were. Tenement houses are overcrowded apartment houses in poorer sections of large cities. “It was very interesting to see how people lived and the struggle they went through,” said Dasia Washam, a student who participated in the field trip. The students were given the opportunity to walk through original tenements and to hear the stories of families who used to live there. “The museum was very different than I thought it would be,” Washam added. “I would totally recommend it for anyone going to New York.”
Next, the students experienced how it felt like to arrive to New York as an immigrant in the past by riding a boat to the Statue of Liberty and afterwards to Ellis Island. They were given lots of information about the process the immigrants had to undergo when they wanted to enter the US.
“I truly enjoyed the New York Trip,” Jolie Noel, another Humanities student said. Her favorite part was the Tenement museum. “It allowed me to reminisce history and the way immigration was back in the 19th century”, she stated.