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Ellis Island

October 12, 2022 | Cindy Kuperus

Second and third graders had a great trip to Ellis Island last week!

They boarded a bus to travel to Liberty State Park. There, they went through security in order to board the ferry. Like immigrants long ago, they took a boat to Ellis Island. Unlike many immigrants long ago, they did not have to ride in steerage (if you don’t know what that is, ask your child to tell you!). Here’s Ms. Mendez’s group:

Students had a snack after their ride. Mr. Hector Espinosa, father of Leah and Ezra at Mustard Seed, met us while having a snack. He works at Ellis Island on Thursdays, and he told us about the history of the island – especially the buildings that we would not be able to enter: such as the hospital and the detention rooms.

Now it was time to enter inside the main building – the same one that more than 12 million immigrants passed through between 1892-1924!

There was time to sketch. One exhibit showed the medical instruments doctors used to examine immigrants, and the wheelchairs from that time period.

Other exhibits showed the different coins that immigrants brought with them to exchange for US money.

An exhibit on the 3rd floor of the museum also showed different personal items that people brought with them from their home countries.

Outside of the museum is a wall of names of the people that passed through Ellis Island.  A student was able to locate some names of relatives!

At the end of the day, we boarded back onto the ferry and headed back to school.  There was so much history to see at the Ellis Island Museum!


Cindy Kuperus

Teacher, Grades 3&4

Ms. Kuperus attended a small Lutheran grade school and has always been a student in multi-grade classrooms. She became interested in teaching, in fact, when she would assist classmates when the teacher was busy helping others. Her 5th/6th grade teacher, Mrs. Roman, encouraged her to think broadly about the world beyond their small town (population: 500), giving stickers to those who could answer a question from the World News segment from television the night before. She would be thrilled to learn that Ms. Kuperus has taught internationally in Masaya, Nicaragua, and Chengdu,China.

After graduating from Calvin College, Ms. Kuperus taught students in grades two-six for almost 10 years in Kentwood, Michigan. In 1994, Ms. Kuperus sought a teaching position in a school in the Northeast, anywhere but New Jersey. She’s now taught for over 23 years in NEW JERSEY! Two of her former students, Becca Brasser and Sam Martino, are now on staff at MSS.

Ms. Kuperus loves opportunities to travel, interact with the people, and taste the foods of the world. She’s also a person who ‘travels” with the characters in the books she reads!

It’s important to Ms. Kuperus that people’s voices are heard and that their needs for shelter and food are met. To that end, she volunteers for organizations like First Friends and the Sharing Place.

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