History Field Trip

Picture of Gerry Atkin
History Field Trip
by Gerry Atkin - Wednesday, 3 July 2024, 12:00 PM

The History Department recently organised a field trip to Wellington. The trip was attended by a group of 30 senior students and provided them with the opportunity to hear about history from a personal perspective.

Morning Session: Talk by Minnijean Brown-Trickey at Queen Margaret College    

We started our day with a talk by Minnijean Brown-Trickey, a member of the Little Rock Nine during the Black Civil Rights Movement. She recounted her courageous decision to attend Little Rock Central High School in the wake of the Brown v Board of Education ruling, which mandated the integration of educational facilities at a time when racial segregation was prevalent. Despite the potential repercussions on her family and their livelihood, she remained steadfast in her convictions and her belief in her capabilities. Her empowering message was clear: Believe in yourself and engage in issues that resonate with you.    

Minnijean Brown noted the special timing of the talk, 19th June, which coincided with Juneteenth, officially recognised as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the abolition of slavery. This added a layer of historical significance to our day.  

The Q&A session was particularly engaging, with one of our students, Diaz Wright, inquiring about how well Minniejean got on with the other members of the Little Rock Nine and if they were still in touch. Minnijean responded warmly, sharing how humor served as a coping mechanism for the students during those challenging times and how they continued to meet up on special occasions to share their experiences.  

Afternoon Session: Visit to the Holocaust Centre   

At the Holocaust Centre, we were moved by Kris Clancy's talk about the history of antisemitism and the different stages of the Holocaust. Using his own family’s experiences, he helped us understand the horrors of this time. We saw video footage of his family in Europe just before the Nazis took over and learned that none of his family survived. It was a powerful and sobering experience.  Our boys were very engaged in the talk, and it helped them to understand what had happened on a personal level, which made it more real for them. 

Why This Trip Matters    

Both the talk by Minnijean Brown-Trickey and the visit to the Holocaust Centre relate to topics studied in Senior History. These experiences provided the students with a deeper understanding of these significant events, helping them to better understand the world and how we have arrived at our current state. The trip was a valuable educational experience, offering insights that extend beyond the classroom and textbooks.