Benedictine Academy Juniors Journey Into America’s Past

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Benedictine Academy students visited Salem, Mass. recently to connect what they have read in literature with reality. The group is pictured in front of the Salem Wharf, where trade and commerce was initiated in the village. (Photo courtesy of Benedictine Academy)

Benedictine Academy students visited Salem, Mass. recently to connect what they have read in literature with reality. The group is pictured in front of the Salem Wharf, where trade and commerce was initiated in the village. (Photo courtesy of Benedictine Academy)

ELIZABETH — Students in Adina Medina’s American Literature classes at Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth recently had the privilege of seeing history brought to life. The class of mostly juniors and some seniors traveled to Salem, Mass. on Nov. 8. There, they witnessed the historic town where the Salem Witch Trials took place, which formed the basis for several classics from literature.

“The Junior trip to Salem, Mass. is such an educational experience for our students who are currently studying American Literature,” Medina explained. “They take the information they learned after reading The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible and other short stories and apply the ‘book’ knowledge to real life,” she commented.

At the start of the visit, students saw the play, Cry Innocent, enabling them to “witness what an actual courtroom scene would look and feel like,” Medina stated. They then toured the Salem Wax Museum dedicated to the people that they “met” while reading The Crucible. At the Wax Museum, “they learn the characters’ actual stories and can parallel what they learned in the play to actual events.”

The students also went on the Salem Witch Walk Tour, where they “learned about the superstitions and traditions that may have caused some women to be considered witches, as well as the truth behind some of the stereotypes associated with magical beings”, Medina said. Finally, the girls toured Nathaniel Hawthorne’s House of Seven Gables, “where the girls saw colonial furniture and structures, learned about lifestyles of the period, and visited rooms decorated according to the 1800s Georgian era,” Medina added.

“Overall, by going on this trip, the students are able to really apply what they have read in class to actual, concrete sites and exhibits to bring their learning to life,” Medina concluded.

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Standing in front of the Old Town Hall in Salem, Mass., Benedictine Academy students gained a sense of what people accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials experienced when they were brought in for judgment. The building is now used as a town hall for the production of Cry Innocent, which the students saw during their trip. The interactive play brought Bridget Bishop’s trial to life for them, as the characters demonstrated how the Salem Witch Trials were held and what types of evidence were allowed in the proceedings. Bridget Bishop was the first person hanged as a witch in 1692. (Photo courtesy of Benedictine Academy)

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Standing in the Salem Wax Museum, Benedictine Academy students examine a gravestone- rubbing exhibit that demonstrated the types of superstitions the Puritans incorporated into their gravestone design. Pictured (l-r) are juniors Karen Montes, Idida Rojas, Marissa Miller, Kassandra Arrojado and Shaianne Alicea. (Photo courtesy of Benedictine Academy)


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