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History of Holyoke Encourages Students To Explore Their Hometown

By combining field trips with academic learning, the History of Holyoke class brings history to life.

The+History+of+Holyoke+class+exploring+the+Paper+City+on+a+recent+field+trip.+
The History of Holyoke class exploring the Paper City on a recent field trip.

The History of Holyoke class exploring the Paper City on a recent field trip.

The History of Holyoke class exploring the Paper City on a recent field trip.

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History of Holyoke is a history elective at Holyoke High that explores Holyoke’s rich past and supplements their learning with hands-on field trips and experiences. The class is open to a wide range of students from grades 9-12 and is taught by history teacher Mr. Donohue. He uses student’s connections to their hometown to talk about topics such as the industrial revolution, immigration, the Great Depression, and more.

“The purpose of the History of Holyoke class  is to enliven Holyoke’s past and connect with her present,” said Mr. Donohue. “I believe that in doing so, my students will better appreciate all that Holyoke has to offer, and be willing to serve [the city] in the future.”

Students who sign up for the class know that not only are they going to learn about topics in the classroom, but also get out into the world to actually touch, feel, and see many of the subjects they learn about – and maybe even learn something new about Holyoke.

“It gives students a chance to see parts of Holyoke they never have before,” said a sophomore in the History of Holyoke class, Hannah Boucher.

On one field trip, Mr.Donohue and the class were joined by two women: one being a former HHS teacher that shares a love for the city’s history. The other woman, dressed as a WW2 nurse, had maps, pictures, and information to share as well. On the trip, the students went by historical spots that were still standing such as the Bushman Filler house,carriage stops, and homes in the highlands to see the amazing architecture. They also went around the Elks Lodge which was an entertainment spot for men run by Carrie Pratt. The class finished up the first tour by going to the Holyoke dam where they learned about the process of how the current dam came to be. As the class took the bus back to school you could tell they had enjoyed all the stories of the city. On another field trip, the class visited Heritage Park and Mr.Donohue pointed out spots where there were “glorious holyoke fires.”

Nathan Canata, a sophomore who went on the trip, said, “History of Holyoke is a great class in itself but having the opportunity to go on field trips and experience what we’re learning about first hand is certainly a privilege and really brings the class to life.”

“When we leave the school students get a hands on experience about various aspects of the city it can only deepen their appreciation of their hometown,” said Mr. Donohue. “Also, as I have reached out to the community for support I am always overwhelmed by the shared love Holyokers have of Holyoke.”

Any current Holyoke High student who wants to be a part of History of Holyoke should elect into the class when scheduling begins.

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One Response to “History of Holyoke Encourages Students To Explore Their Hometown”

  1. Olivia on March 21st, 2018 7:30 am

    Keep up the good work! Make Holyoke Proud!
    former HHS teacher

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History of Holyoke Encourages Students To Explore Their Hometown