Dorchester, Mass.— History class at Catholic Memorial School took place on the floor of the U.S. Senate — in Dorchester, not Washington D.C., that is.
In March, the entire CM junior class visited the Edward M. Kennedy (E.M.K) Institute in Dorchester where they participated in a Senate Immersion Module (SIM) created by CM four years ago.
Referred to as “Domestic Policy in America during World War I,” the simulation module gave students a chance to play the role of a specific U.S. Senator during World War I for the day.
Together, students from the U.S. History courses of Mr. Thomas Jordan, Mr. Vincent Bradley, and Mr. Matthew Callahan worked together for two-and-a-half hours to try and pass a hypothetical piece of legislation.
For Will Stockwell, a CM junior from Hyde Park, the experience taught him how to collaborate with those who operate under different ideologies.
“In order to live your life successfully, you need to be able to learn to cooperate with one another,” said Will, who takes Mr. Bradley’s A.P. U.S. History course.
“Not everyone is in the same political party. So you need to learn different methods of compromise and you need to be willing to work with one another.”
According to the E.M.K Institute, the SIM program follows a design that aims to provide students with an active understanding of the way our government works and inspire them to shape their communities.
Mr. Bradley, the History Department Chair at CM, created the WWI module in 2016 alongside a group of CM students performing an independent study. The students worked on the module with officials at the EMK Institute, making CM the first school in the country to collaborate with the EMK Institute in creating a simulation module.
“There’s a little bit of a legacy there for our students,” said Mr. Bradley.
“It’s satisfying for the students who worked on [the module] to know they contributed to the institute and other classes in the Greater Boston area.”
Holding true to the EMK Institute’s module design, The WWI module requires students to break into sub-committees, research legislation, and write arguments about topics that include the Sedition Act of 1918, the Espionage Act of 1917, taxation during wartime, and whether or not the country needs a military draft.
Mr. Bradley believes that the timing of the module fits well with the timing of the department’s U.S. History curriculum.
“We picked WWI because we had these dates that fit roughly into the time we were studying WWI,” said Mr. Bradley, Chair of the History Department at CM.
His students said they appreciated the well-timed nature of the module.
Some even said the module provided them with a whole new perspective of what it means to serve a nation during a time of war.
“I found it really interesting to be in their shoes,” said Will.
“There’s a lot of pressure to be in their position representing the state they serve and their nation at a time of war.”