Keheley Elementary Students Experience Ellis Island Simulation


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Studying early immigration to the United States is interesting, but actually IMMIGRATING is another thing entirely. Fifth-grade students at Keheley Elementary School learned this firsthand last week as they participated in the school’s Ellis Island simulation.

“It’s an awesome simulation we do every year to show students what it was like to come to the United States from other countries years ago,” Media Center Paraprofessional Dianna Thompson said. “They go through the whole process, from getting on the boat in their home country, all the way through being sworn in as U.S. citizens.”

Students begin the simulation by researching their family history, tracing their origins to find out about the places their ancestors called home before coming to the States. They then can decide to begin the simulation as one of their ancestors, or as a famous historical figure who immigrated to America. Along the way, the students travel through stations that simulate every step in the process of citizenship: a vocational station that explores what job possibilities await them in America, a health station and even a mock citizenship test.

Thompson said the simulation is a longstanding tradition at Keheley that she hopes will continue.

“My daughter is 18, and she still remembers doing this simulation,” she said. “I think it’s definitely something that stands out to students.”