Fourth graders at re-enacted the arrival of immigrants to Ellis Island on Thursday, as part of a lesson to teach children first hand what immigration was like.
The students dressed in costume, packed trunks and bags, waited in line, then went through inspection after inspection.
Sydney Comstock, 10, portrayed her great, great-grandmother, Alma Peterson.
Peterson traveled to Ellis Island from Sweden at age 10, with her mother and seven siblings.
“Having to leave your homeland and take a ship for 10 weeks would be really scary,” Sydney said.
At one station, the inspectors spoke to the students in other languages, to give them a sense of what it was like to arrive without knowing English.
“The hardest one for me was the language one,” said Antonio Alves, 12, of the stations. “The only French word I know is ‘bonjour’.”
Teacher Sheryl Genovese said the re-enactment was meant to help the students understand the experience.
“We want them to go through that and feel the experience of having to go through long lines, and having to be inspected, and having someone talk to you in another language,” she said.
After the inspections, the fourth grade students celebrated with an international feast downstairs, with foods brought in from the different countries.