Freshmen explore Leiden, discover history and diversity

In Leiden, there are six stone suitcases to commemorate the Jewish people of Leiden who were arrested by the Nazis during the Second World War.

In Leiden, there are six stone suitcases to commemorate the Jewish people of Leiden who were arrested by the Nazis during the Second World War.

Alice Bezard, Staff Writer

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   The Museum Volkenkunde, the Siebold House, the Pieterskerk, the Van Valk Windmill and De Burcht. On May 3, all ninth graders had a social studies trip to Leiden, where they visited all these locations. The trip had been organized by the social studies teachers and the aim of the trip was to make students realize the connection between the units that had been studied throughout the year.

   “Overall, I think the trip went very well. This is based on the feedback I received from both the chaperones and the students. If the trip does happen next year, there are a few changes that I would like to make, such as having conversations about the venues instead of all the questions that were in the packet. I also would like to add that I think the timing was rather good because it helped solidify the units studied throughout the year and realize some connections between them,” said Ms. Yonkey.

   Something typical about Leiden is the poetry on the walls. There are more than 110 painted poems in different languages on walls throughout the town. The process began in 1992 with a poem in Russian by Marina Tsvetaeva and finished in 2005 with a Spanish poem by Federico García Lorca. This shows the diversity of the city and students enjoyed trying to find them.

   “The trip was interesting and I learned a lot about Leiden. I liked the fact that the visits to the places were quite fast paced because you could be interested in a venue but also not stay long enough to get bored. My favourite venue was the Van Valk Windmill because it was a different building than all the others we had been to, and it was a great opportunity to learn more about windmills and how they were used,” said freshman Victor E.

   “The trip was a great way to teach us more about the diversity and history of Leiden, but we got to learn in a firsthand way rather than reading a book. I learned a lot more than I normally would have in one day of school, while still having a lot of fun. It reinforced a lot of things that we learned in previous units, such as Imperialism in Asia. I wish we had more field trips like this in High School and for other classes like science,” said freshman Chloe S.

   In Leiden, there are six stone suitcases to commemorate the Jewish people of Leiden who were arrested by the Nazis during the Second World War. The suitcases were designed by Dutch/Israeli artist Ram Katzir in 2010. They are all placed in significant locations, such as the Jewish orphanage on the Roodenburgestraat.

   “I really enjoyed the trip and I liked the fact that we went straight after finishing to study the units. The trip helped me visualize everything we learned and gave me a better idea of culture. Personally, I liked the Volkenkunde Museum because it had different countries that we could see at the same time. Finally, I’d like to say thank you to all the teachers who worked for us and I also really want to say thank you to Ms. Yonkey who worked hard for this field trip!” said freshman Angela K.

   “I really enjoyed the trip because we got to see things we have been learning about all year and how past events could affect our lives today. My favorite location was the Siebold House because we got to hear about a specific person’s story who was living in Japan while its borders were closed to foreigners. I liked this because we got to learn about it more in depth than we had in class. The only thing I would change about the trip would be how much time we get at each venue. Sometimes we were really rushed and didn’t have enough time to absorb all the information. Other than that, it was a great experience,” said freshman Elizabeth T.