Middle-schoolers learn history, culture in Amsterdam

Amina Evans Eighth grade
Kaiserslautern American Middle School

***image5***Each year at Kaiserslautern American Middle School, students in the Advancement Via Individual Determination program choose a book to read during second semester.

Based on the book, they do related activities and plan a study trip. This year the AVID students read “The Diary of Anne Frank” and took a trip to Amsterdam, Holland, May 3 to 6.

In order to be able to make the trip possible, the students held fund-raisers throughout the year. Various community clubs and associations also helped to defray the cost of the trip.

“It is a wonderful opportunity and experience for our students; one which they will remember for a lifetime,” said Dorothea Robinson, KAMS AVID teacher and coordinator. “Living in Europe provides us with a culturally and historically rich environment and being able to share a part of it with my students is extremely rewarding.” 

The group began their experience at the Jewish Historical Museum, where they learned of many conflicts the Jewish culture has encountered through history.

After reading the book, the student found Ann Frank’s Amsterdam hideaway reality a somber experience.

“The house was really cool but the stairs were kind of steep,” said eighth-grader Patrick Austin. “We were able to see her actual diaries she kept and many of the other possessions to include the pictures of film stars that were on the wall of her room.”

Only a few of Anne’s possessions remained for her father to find after the family was captured and the war ended. Among these was her diary.

At the historical Rembrandt House, the group saw many of the paintings and etchings of famous artist Rembrandt van Rijn.

Museum artist Tim Werner demonstrated etching, which included burning a picture in copper with acid and staining it with black ink. Rembrandt was a pioneer in the process of developing etchings.

The students took a cruise around Amsterdam, learning about many important historical facts and important places.

“The trip was fun and parts of the city were really pretty,” said eighth-grader Vanessa Jones. “The boat ride was nice, relaxing and soothing.”