This year’s theme at CELC is entitled “Quest for Freedom in America : Immigration and African American Migration”.  Students have completed a study of their own family histories, elaborating on aspects in seven different areas: food, language, clothing, family tree, religion, and geography.  The research was compiled into artistically created and illustrated ‘family history scrapbooks’, which in addition to photographs, documents, and other visuals also included student’s own creative writing.

The study will now expand into learning about the waves of immigration to the United States spanning the past four hundred years.  We also will take special note to investigate current immigration policy and conditions.  A visit to New Haven’s Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) to learn about refugee resettlement, community service work with Casa Otonal, and visits to New York’s Tenement Museum and Ellis Island are some of the field experiences incorporated into our study.

Visit with immigrantLikewise, this study is enhanced by a variety of guest speakers who share their stories with students.  One such speaker who visited today was Angeli, a recent emigrant from Mexico City. After completing a four-year residency in psychiatry in her native country, and because of her outstanding academic accomplishments, she was eventually invited to the U.S. by a local university to study. Our students had an opportunity to listen to some of what was expected of her by way of social service to her country of Mexico before her diploma was conferred.

Students have chosen countries to study for the research projects.  They will each research a country from where there was/is a large number of people who emigrated to the U.S., focusing primarily on the “push/pull” factors involved.  Students will ultimately write a full research paper, and along the way will be taught the skills of outlining, note taking, compiling their notes into a rough draft, all with the intent for a final published piece.

Students will then bring their research to a new level as they work toward our “theme day” event to take place in June.  Students will create a persona from the country they have studied.  They will design and build a “living museum” display, dress in authentic costume, and become this person.  Visitors are welcome to attend and meet our “immigrants” from China, Korea, Mexico, Cuba, Poland, and Italy on Friday, 3 June from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. at the Blackstone Memorial Library in Branford.

Combining their factual knowledge with their creative writing, students will design a Google Lit Trip online utilizing Google Earth to “show” the journey of the persona they create in an historical fiction piece.

Keep in touch for more information about our theme day.  We hope you will join us!