Anne Frank Museum and Windmills

Hallo again!

Today we had the great opportunity to see the moving and poignant Anne Frank House. In the words of one student, “She represented those who didn’t have a voice.” The experience was meaningful and really brought Anne’s diary and the experience of those in hiding during the holocaust to life.

After that, we stopped for a quick lunch and drove to two traditional Dutch villages where students got to see the inner workings of windmills (one even made paint!), learn how cheese and chocolate are made, and see the process of making a wooden clog! We also got to stop for some souvenir shopping.

For dinner, we had wonderful Indonesian food. There are a lot of Indonesian immigrants in Amsterdam and its food has become popular with native Dutch people. We were particularly proud of the kids because everyone, including some notoriously picky eaters, tried new foods!

We’re up again early tomorrow morning to catch our train to Paris. More updates to come!

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Hallo from Amsterdam!

Hallo! The kids (and adults) are doing great here in Amsterdam! We’re well rested after a good night’s sleep and a busy first day.
After a walk through the city, yesterday, we took a beautiful canal cruise (did you know that Amsterdam has more canals than Venice?) and then stopped for a delicious lunch. After that, students explored the Rijksmuseum and got the opportunity to see Rembrandt’s Night Watch.
Right now, we are standing in line for the Anne Frank house and later we’re visiting traditional Amsterdam villages. We’ll post more as we go along and as wifi allows!

Pics to follow (wifi is being… Interesting)!

Japanese Imperialism in WWII

Last week, in keeping with our study on WWII, students had the opportunity to learn about Japanese Imperialism from guest speaker, Garry Bush! Students used latitude and longitude to graph places on the Pacific, researched who was in control of those countries, and what resources they produced. Along with information about Japanese culture and nationalism, students used this information to explore why Japan needed to expand in the Pacific, and why it was important for them to win World War II. This further developed their understanding of the different players in WWII, their motivations, and the underlying motives for their interactions with other countries.

Thank you for visiting, Garry!

WWII Veteran Talks to Seabury Students

Today we were so fortunate to have John Plesha, who was a navigator in a B-24 during WWII, talk with the students. the B-24s “The Liberators” also had the nickname “The Flying Coffin” due to their unreliability and tendency to, well, crash. Often.

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At 91 years old,Mr. Plesha is a vibrant storyteller who regaled the students with amazing stories. Did you know that the crews on the B-24s carried pigeons? If the plane was going down, the navigator would yell out the coordinates, a crew member would write it on a message, strap it to the pigeon’s leg and throw the pigeon out the window.The crew, hopefully having deployed a life raft, would have to hope for the best.  No GPS then!

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He told them about the time his plane lost three out of four engines. One of the crew panicked and jumped out, becoming a German prisoner of war. Mr. Plesha stayed in the plane with the rest of crew. They managed to get two of the engines started again, but they had to fly over the Alps with just 3 working engines. They weren’t able to gain enough  altitude so they flew over Brenner Pass and manged to get back to the base, just after they were given up for missing.

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Mr. Plesha went on to become a math teacher for 30 years in Edmonds, WA. He figured his odds of staying alive on his 50 missions were 50% each time he flew. The students are so lucky to have the chance to meet him, ask him questions and get to know someone who could tell them what it was really like to fly during WWII.