Scrapbook Sparks Immigration Debate


a former student’s immigration scrapbook. It included photos, family trees and information about their family.

Nick Johnson, Staff Writer

Juniors in Diane Bessette’s US history class are working on scrapbooks to help them discover their family history.

History teacher Lindsay Webb-Peploe first implemented the project. Her long term substitute, Bessette, has now assigned the project to students herself. “I think it is valuable to explore history on a personal level,” she said.

The project is due November 1.

“So far, I think it’s a good project. I’m learning a lot and [Bessette] is making me like U.S history a little bit more,” Matt O’Reilly said.

The assignment gives students a chance to learn about immigration in the United States. “We are a nation of immigrants, and people continue to immigrate to this country. It’s important to understand the history of immigration in our country to participate knowledgeably in the current discussion of immigration policy,” Bessette explained.

“Personally, I think that although it is good to have rules and regulations, most of the time, the people that come to the U.S aren’t just stealing jobs from citizens,” O’Reilly said.

Through the scrapbook project, O’Reilly has learned that his mother’s family immigrated from Mexico and his father’s family from Ireland.

“I’d like to know about my great grandparents on my dad’s side because they are the only ones I’ve never met,” said O’Reilly.

Although the project is lengthy, Bessette believes it is worth the effort. “It is  time consuming, but I think it will help students understand their own family history and get to know more about their family,” she said.

Bessette plans on bringing in some of her own family memorabilia to share with her classes. “I think it is important partly so that you understand the role your family played during historical events and getting to know the motivations of your ancestors,” she said.