Eighth graders visit the Museum of Tolerance

Participating in the annual excursion, all MacArthur eighth graders spent a day at the Museum of Tolerance.

All MacArthur MacArthur eighth graders went on a field trip to the Museum of Tolerance on Thursday, February 28.  The trip was a culminating event after weeks of study in the students’ language arts class.

The M.O.T., Museum of Tolerance, was opened to the public in February 1993.  The trip to the Museum of Tolerance encapsulates the historical events of the Holocaust and extends students’ understanding of ongoing ethical issues, such as civil rights struggles, childhood slavery, and genocide.

The museum tour was about three hours long, split between the Holocaust and Tolerance exhibits.  Students were led by docents, many of whom were related to Holocaust victims and/or survivors. The tour groups average about 35 students in size and were accompanied by parent chaperones, AVID tutors, and teachers.  Assistant Principal Mr. Ray Gonzales and Counselor Mrs. Laurie Tristan also attended the trip.

All eighth-grade students went on the trip.  According to eighth-grade Language Arts Teacher Ms. Susan Davis, there have never been any major problems on the trip.  This year’s trip was no different.

Natalia Quezada, eighth grade, learned a lot from the trip.  Even though much of the Holocaust exhibit is a review from classroom lessons, there was still new information and explanations to be heard.  Natalie said, “It was a really good time.”

In order to help pay for the trip, each MacArthur eighth-grader student was asked for a $10 donation.  The trip itself costs MacArthur approximately $9000, including the price of entry and bus fees.

One memorable exhibit museum from the museum was the recreation of a gas chamber.  Inside, visitors hear emotional, harrowing accounts of the Holocaust from witnesses.  Right before the gas chamber replica, students saw a display of artifacts from a concentration camp, including a prison uniform and a canister of poison gas.

Another memorable part of the visit is the spiral walkway from the entry into the museum.  The walkway is lined with pictures of actual Holocaust survivors who are associated with the Museum of Tolerance.

The Tolerance exhibit focuses on learning experiences about racism and prejudice around the world, including ongoing issues.  There is an exhibit on the power of language that connects hate speech to 9/11 and terrorist actions.

Because of the length of the trip, some students found the trip exhausting.  Eighth-grader Michelle Martinez said, “It was kind of boring but it was also a little fun.”