St. Patrick School holds Immigrant DayFourth-grade students at St. Patrick School took a step back into history on April 14 when they celebrated the history and culture of immigrant groups that made their way into the United States and Wisconsin in the late 1800s.
Fourth-grade students at St. Patrick School took a step back into history on April 14 when they celebrated the history and culture of immigrant groups that made their way into the United States and Wisconsin in the late 1800s.
Students researched the many different ethnic groups that make up the rich heritage of Wisconsin. They were then assigned a family name, chose their own first names, a destination in Wisconsin and an ethnic food they would share on the Immigrant Day.
Students came dressed in babushkas, shawls, caps and knickers, and were greeted by the Statue of Liberty (Principal Mary Piasecki) as they boarded the ferry that would take them to Ellis Island. Once on board, the captain (music teacher Cheryl Forester) led the students in traditional American melodies.
Then the immigrants, with passports and 29 questions in hand, were led to Ellis Island’s main hall where legal, medical and mental inspections were staged. Parents, children, and relatives were detained for various reasons. After passing all of the inspections, family members exchanged their gold coins for American money and bought tickets to travel to Wisconsin. Finally, their passports were stamped and they were on their way.
The families celebrated their hopes for the future with a schottische and square dance led by physical education teacher Tim Dejardin and a smorgasbord of ethnic foods. Students followed up the day by writing a letter to a friend in their native country to tell about their experience.
As German immigrant Rachel Stein (Katy Shimp) said: “Once we reached Ellis Island the children were jumping up and down. The inspections were very scary. The noise was terrible with the babbling of many different languages. We finally made it out of there. Americans at last!”
Teachers Becky Hauer and Terri Bekkum organized the event.