HAMMONTON - History came alive for eighth-graders from Hammonton Middle School when they participated in a project to trace their family trees.

The youngsters were given Certificates of Participation from the Hammonton Historical Society on Sunday in honor of all their hard work.

The students did the project in their spare time and for no extra credit or grade in class.

“To have 15, 16 kids get involved for no extra credit is amazing,” said Jason Massara, the students’ eighth-grade social studies teacher.

The historical society reached out to Massara to see if he was interested in having his students participate in the project. School administrators agreed with him that it would be a neat project to get involved in. All of the students who participated did it voluntarily.

“I was able to trace my family back to the 1300s,” said Alex Giordano. The young man had four generations of family come to the historical society to see him receive his certificate.

Ashley Westfall, another student to participate in the project, was able to trace her family back to the 1500s. “I found a lot of German,” chuckled Westfall.

Julia Sulzner, one of the other students involved in the project, said “I was only able to trace my family back to the 1800s, but I’m going to keep researching to see how far back I can get.”

“It was a really great project for the kids; they were able to see how different life was,” said Will Donio, whose son, Sam Donio, participated in the project.

All the students at the historical society agreed that they had a lot of fun and that they will continue to research their family trees.

“We are very proud of our society,” said Anne Marie DeCicco, president of the Hammonton Historical Society. She was thrilled to have so many students involved in the project because they are the future. “Today is tomorrow’s history,” said DeCicco.

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