Erin McCaffrey, 11, played 17-year-old Josephine Vina, also coming to America from Italy, with two young daughters in tow. Vina would eventually head to Boston once through the immigration process.
“They told me I had conjunctivitis and that scared me a little,” Erin said once she got to the medical inspection area. “I learned how hard it was and what they all went through.”
Erin also had family ties to ancestors who came here from another country. Her great-grandfather came from Ireland.
“My grandmother used to talk to us about it,” she said. “She told me how hard it was.”
Eva Gertz, 12, realized how tough it was for immigrants back then. She played Carla Mossini, a 58-year-old Italian woman who had to endure aggressive baggage inspectors during the process.
“They would stand there and glare at you and yell at you,” she said. “Immigrants didn’t have it easy.”
All sixth-grade teams participated in Immigration Day events and hosted an international feast afterward.