Vernon Hills school recreates Ellis Island experience

  • Hawthorn Middle School South eighth-graders Ashley Vollen, left and Melany Aguilar, right, portray Russian immigrants entering Ellis Island on Friday in Vernon Hills. Alicia Casas, far left, checks them in.

      Hawthorn Middle School South eighth-graders Ashley Vollen, left and Melany Aguilar, right, portray Russian immigrants entering Ellis Island on Friday in Vernon Hills. Alicia Casas, far left, checks them in. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Hawthorn Middle School South eighth-graders Andrew Ruditskiy plays a Russian immigrant asking questions of Deairra Jenkins, left, portraying an immigrant from the United Kingdom on Friday during a lesson on immigration at the Vernon Hills school. Students portrayed immigrants entering Ellis Island.

      Hawthorn Middle School South eighth-graders Andrew Ruditskiy plays a Russian immigrant asking questions of Deairra Jenkins, left, portraying an immigrant from the United Kingdom on Friday during a lesson on immigration at the Vernon Hills school. Students portrayed immigrants entering Ellis Island. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Hawthorn Middle School South social studies teacher Joe Stubenvoll gives students a loyalty oath Friday in Vernon Hills during a lesson immigration. The students portrayed immigrants entering Ellis Island.

      Hawthorn Middle School South social studies teacher Joe Stubenvoll gives students a loyalty oath Friday in Vernon Hills during a lesson immigration. The students portrayed immigrants entering Ellis Island. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/27/2019 4:01 PM

Eighth-grade students from Hawthorn Middle School South got a hands-on lesson in immigration Friday as they played the roles of people coming to the United States through Ellis Island.

Students had to pick a European country and create a person to portray, complete with age, character flaws and even health issues. They also had to learn how to communicate with other students without speaking English.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It's really thought provoking," Social Studies teacher Joe Stubenvoll said. "It's a real positive way to look at what immigrants go through when coming into another country."

At the end the lesson, students took a loyalty oath to enter the United States.

"It's really cool," said Ashley Vollen, who played a Russian immigrant. "I get to feel like what it's like to be in the 1900s as an immigrant."

Students also had discussions on where the immigrants go and what happens to them after entering the United States.

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