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Students visit Steinbeck Center

Freshman Rylee Sanford visited the Steinbeck Center as part of a field trip organized by her English teacher, Ms. George. Photo by Megan Weferling.

On Mar. 20, freshmen English students were able to attend a field trip to the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas in coordination with the class reading Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men.

The National Steinbeck Center is located in Oldtown Salinas. According to the museum’s website, “It is dedicated to Steinbeck’s creative legacy and lasting impact on American identity. The Steinbeck museum shows his ecological perception, commitment to social engagement, and the many stories about the working class.”

The money for the field trip was donated by the Committee for Atascadero Public Schools (CAPS) grant to English teacher Ms. George’s class. The money allowed a total of 31 students and three chaperones, Mrs. George, Mrs. Corey and Ms. Spadden, to attend. The class learned with interactive, multi-sensory exhibits that navigated them through theatrical sets that showcase Steinbeck’s novels: East of Eden, Cannery Row, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath, The Red Pony and much more, allowing them to step into the scene and time-period.

According to the exhibits are there to “connect the visitor’s own life experience to the universal themes of Steinbeck’s major works, the Salinas Valley of California, and to advocate for the message: Words Matter.”

Earlier this year, the class read Of Mice and Men, then watched the movie afterward. Grant Pettit-Martin said he liked “seeing the many different books he had written,” and that “the trip was really fun.” Nicolas Flores said, “I learned so much on the trip, and it was really fun.”

Ms. George said that she hoped “students gained more insight into what an amazing and prolific author John Steinbeck was and how his works depicted everyday life on the coast of California, and specifically in the Salinas Valley.” She also said her favorite part was “reading the excerpts from his different novels and seeing the photos of the actual locations he was describing.”

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