Middle School Students Conduct Research at Rutgers, Learn About College Life

EDISON — On Friday, May 14, eighth graders from The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in North Edison traveled to Rutgers University to conduct research at Alexander Library, to meet with Wardlaw-Hartridge Class of 2006 graduate Andrew Bellisari of Plainfield to discuss transitioning into college life, and to visit The Hale Center, home of Rutgers Scarlet Knights training, administrative and academic resource facilities.

Three eighth grade groups toured Alexander Library with representatives, including Jeris Cassel, Education Librarian and Instruction Coordinator, who walked the students through the library’s Special Collections and University Archives. There, the students enjoyed viewing documents, artifacts, maps and other materials featured in the exhibition, “Benevolent Patriot: The Life and Times of Henry Rutgers.” The students also viewed the Government Documents room, The East Asian Library, The Current Periodicals and Microforms Room, Bound Periodicals Room, and more.


Before having lunch at the Rutgers Student Center, the eighth graders worked with Cassel, librarian Peggy Wong, Andrew Bellisari and their teachers to research items that would help them write their research papers. Some of the topics included propaganda in literature, Shakespeare, poetry, banned books, and The Great Depression in American Literature. They also researched the artistic style of Alexander Calder and uncovered two sources for locating information about artists and artwork. Finally, they viewed maps of the Wardlaw-Hartridge area from three different time periods and noted two differences between each time period.

Following lunch, Bellisari met with the students in the Rutgers Student Center Multi-Purpose Room, where he gave them some insight into the difference between life as a Middle School (and soon to be Upper School) student and college life. Andrew, who will be studying in France on a Fulbright scholarship, explained how the students will learn to make decisions on their own and face new responsibilities in college.

“In college, you are the captain of your own ship,” he advised. Bellisari also took the time to answer questions from the students, which included time management, social, and academic issues.

Before returning to Wardlaw-Hartridge, the eighth graders visited The Hale Center, where they got a birds-eye view of the new Rutgers Football Stadium, the 14,262-square foot weight room, interactive digital classrooms, computer lab, video room, theater, training room, locker room, and display cases filled with Scarlet Knights memorabilia.

Eighth graders from The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in North Edison are pictured in the front of Alexander Library at Rutgers University before going inside to conduct research for their papers.

Andrew Bellisari of Plainfield (center), a 2006 graduate of The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in North Plainfield and a recent Rutgers graduate and Fulbright scholar, helps Chase Levitt of Scotch Plains, an eighth grader, work on his research paper inside of Alexander Library. Nancy Duddy of Westfield, Middle School history teacher, is pictured looking on.

Photos by Michelle Daino/Wardlaw-Hartridge

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