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On 17th and 18th of April 2001, some of the 11th grade U.S. History students at MSMS participated in an activity run by Mrs. Morris known as Depression Day. For twenty-four hours from 4:30 one afternoon until 4:30 the next afternoon. These students split into "families", dress in old raggedy clothes, eat food "specially" prepared for them, bathe in cold water, brush their teeth with baking soda, spend the day in cardboard "houses" they built themselves, and just generally try to get a feel for what families during the Depression went through.
After Depression Day is over, and before they go to eat their first real "meal" in twenty-four hours, the families must write a fictional letter to President Hoover (the president at the beginning of the Depression) detailing their family's plight and imploring him to help them by doing something to end the Depression. This letter is presented to their history class during that class period on Depression Day.
Depression Day gives students a feel for what people had to endure during the Depression and just why it was really called the "depression"! As such, this activity is a valuable learning experience.