WARREN, NJ - Woodland school third graders recently wrapped up a multi-week immigration project with thoughtful presentations focusing on a family member who immigrated to America.

“In class we talked about how there are all types of pilgrims,” said Amanda McGrath who supervised the project with fellow 3rd grade teacher Lisa Lenci. The students then “researched their own family’s immigration story.”

Those stories were rich in history, geography, culture, and love as the third graders presented to a standing room only crowd of parents and other family members on Jan. 27.

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“Our country is made up of many immigrants,” said Isabella Appicie as she outlined her grandmother’s journey to America.

Kamau Venson spoke of his grandmother who came to the U.S. at the age of 23, leaving behind her parents in Jamaica. Navya Raju honored her mother who left her native India when she was 22. And Antonio Giuliano regaled the gathering with talk of Italian cuisine and the courage of his grandfather who, too, left behind his family for a better life here.

“Ciao,” said Giuliano, prompting laughter as he introduced himself at the start of his presentation.

The students wrote and illustrated travel books about their relatives’ native countries and made colorful dolls to display. Early in the project, art teacher Jennifer Ronkiewicz led the group in painting an iconic image.

“When immigrants come here, the first thing they see is the Statue of Liberty,” said student Maya Green.

The image of Lady Liberty “unites us,” Ronkiewicz added. “So it’s important that we’re focusing on this image through our art.” 

Photo Credit: Warren Township Schools

Photo #1 - As part of a multi-week immigration project, Woodland 3rd grader Navya Raju talks about her mom who came to the U.S. from India at the age of 22, as teacher Amanda McGrath (L) looks on with a smile.

Photo #2 - Daniel Pincus joins other Woodland third graders in presenting family immigrant stories, the culmination of a multi-week immigration project.

Photos #3 & 4 - Woodland 3rd graders display colorful dolls and books to help tell the story of an immigrant relative, part of a large-scale project on immigration.

Photo #5 - Woodland 3rd graders (L-R) , Ashwin Bompalli, Chloe Kardos and Eesha Jagadeesh show off vivid images of the Statue of Liberty, a special art assignment as part of a third grade immigration project.