English Language Learners from both Grand Avenue and Merrick Avenue middle schools visited the Tenement Museum in Manhattan’s Lower East Side on Jan. 13 as part of the English as a New Language program.
“Students traveled back in time and experienced the life of immigrants inside a tenement apartment building from 1863,” explained ENL Chairperson Enrique Montes.
During the guided tour, students interacted with an actress playing the role of Victoria Confino, a former resident who lived in the tenement in 1916. Students were invited into her living room where they heard stories about her experience as a Greek immigrant settling in the Lower East Side.
Students prepared questions in advance and compared their experiences as immigrants with that of settlers in the early part of the 20th century.
“Our students left with a sense of perspective, knowing that the challenges they face as new Americans are not different from what immigrants faced years ago,” added Montes.
Their ENL teachers, Abigail Havener and Denise Schleith, prepared a thematic unit on immigration in preparation for this trip. Students learned about the contributions that immigrants have had in shaping the country.
Keeping up with the spirit of multiculturalism, students and chaperones had empanadas at a Lower East Side restaurant.