More than a thousand students are going to flood Dickinson High School in North Dakota in May as part of a special event, and it will be unlike anything Dickinson has ever seen.
Middle School students from ten different countries will be coming to the High School.
“Well I know Germany, Russia, Hungary, Denmark, Norway, Spain, France, Great Britain, Italy, Czechoslovakia,” said Brian Ham, Dickinson High School teacher.
This isn’t part of some intense study abroad program. This is a student led project to recreate the Ellis Island immigration movement from the early 1900’s.
“I like that it gets everyone involved. It not just a class. It is a multi -school project,” said Ham.
About 800 middle school students will be playing immigrants, and about 400 high school students will be portraying U.S. Immigration Officials.
“The day is going to be chaotic and that’s okay . . . that’s what Ellis Island was,” said Ham.
School buses will act as ships transporting immigrants to America.
“Jam pack them in there. Three to a seat in the back. Just how brutal it really was. If you didn’t have money you were in the lower part of the ship – and not much food,” said Brayden Groll, Dickinson HS student.
And the School gymnasium will be their U.S Port – Ellis Island.
“They had to meet an age requirement . . young enough and fit, so they are going to help America in a good way,” said Lauren Jorda, Dickinson HS Student.
The students said the project is teaching them how to work as a collaborative group.
“In the real world you have to learn to work in a group and get along with everyone,” said Addie Kuehl, Dickinson HS Student.
It will also be offering them great educational experience.
“I want them to know what their great – grandparents went through. There were people who were anti -immigrant and wanted them to leave. They were throwing bricks and rocks,” said Hannah Rathgeber, Dickinson HS Student.
The students’ presentation of the recreation of Ellis Island will be May 9.