The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA

Exploring Immigration's Legacy

The winter term concluded with a class trip to New York City for our ninth grade students. They had the opportunity to explore historically significant sites, delving into the topics of immigration and the Harlem Renaissance and their profound impact on American culture. This immersive experience allowed students to make real-world connections to their curricular work in English, art, creativity and design, and history, as well as to the themes of community and identity. Director of Equity and Inclusion Jill Anthony explains, “We wanted to dig deep into different immigrant communities in New York and think about what it means to find community in a place where you are new and how being in this new place shapes identity.” 

Students visited Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty on their first day in the city. As they toured the site, they participated in a scavenger hunt that encouraged them to think about and engage with the experience in different ways. This interactive approach to learning was a highlight of the day. Ninth graders were challenged to find immigrant names in the exhibits shared by faculty or classmates, artifacts that defined the immigrant experience positively and negatively, different architectural elements, aspects that connect to their heritage, and photos of their favorite views. Students in Advanced 3D Design made connections to their study of monuments as they discussed the construction of the Statue of Liberty and elements of its design. 

The second day of the trip was a cultural immersion. It included a guided tour of Harlem and visits to the Harlem Studio Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. At the Met, students explored The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism exhibit, viewing portraits, poetry, books, and publications from the era. The exhibit sparked connections to authors they had studied in English class this year, including Langston Hughes, Marcus Garvey, and Zora Neale Hurston. The day concluded with front-row seats to a jazz performance, a quintessential part of American culture. Music teacher Trey Duggar was there to guide the ninth grade class, which includes many accomplished musicians. 

On their final day in the city, students visited the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and the Museum of Chinese in America, which provoked interesting conversations about what it means to straddle dual identities. Whether it was experiencing formal exhibits, wandering through Times Square, taking a moment of reflection in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, or visiting the Korea Town Food Hall and being introduced to their friends' favorite dishes, the ninth graders were able to share independence and aspects of themselves throughout the trip notes Jill. “Our kids were really engaged and I think they all did a good job of finding their moment on the trip.”
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admission 508-490-8201