By: Gracie Hart and Albany Taylor
District 140. A district where hundreds of students come together from three different towns. Each one of the families throughout the district value different things, but family is among the most important. To learn more about their family heritage and the person they are today, students in Ms. Bertschi’s American Experience and American History classes are completing a family tree project. Although the projects vary between American Experience and American History, both classes have to learn about their ancestors. When asked why she gives the assignment to students, Ms. Bertschi commented, “In our community, families are very important to us. If students know where they came from, they will know why they are where they are today.”
The project allows for students to trace their families back as far as possible. They have the opportunity to talk to their family members or search the web on websites such as Ancestry to gather more information. The goal of the project is not only to learn about their past, but for students to learn when and why their family decided to risk everything and immigrate to America. Junior and American Experience student, Valerie Spencer, explained, “The best part about the project is finding out where your family came from and why they came to America.”
Through online research and talking to relatives, students have been able to discover things about their families that they never knew. Junior and American History student, Maddy Skelton, learned, “My dad’s side came from England and Scotland.”
These facts are just small pieces to each student’s extensive family tree. According to Ms. Bertschi, family heritage is important because “It is the foundation of knowing ourselves. If we know our story, then we can understand our beliefs, our choices, and all of those small things that add up to us.” Students will have a better understanding of themselves and of their families after completing this project and taking a look back in time.