In July the students of Ecole Notre Dame visited a small local cemetary where 15 Australian soldiers are buried. The students placed specially inscribed crosses at the graveside of each soldier.
The students, with the help of their passionate and dedicated teachers, now plan to write a book about these soldiers which will be illustrated by some of the parents. They hope to publish this unique book and make it available to schools, museums and visitors to the region.
What a great and enduring local community centenary initiative!
We recently visited École la Chapelette in Peronne which is partnered with St Patrick’s Primary in the little coastal village of Port Fairy in south-west Victoria.
The Port Fairy students have thrown themselves into the project, writing letters and inscribing small wooden crosses with special commemorative messages. They hope the students at la Chapelette will also write a special message and then place their crosses on a soldier’s grave and ask the question – who are you? They will then promise to research this soldier and share their findings with their partner school.
The Port Fairy students can’t wait to hear from their partners in France who are currently on summer holidays.
There is now a new section on the website – OUR MUSEUM
As you and your students explore your own community to find evidence of the impact of World War 1 you will find many things – old photos, medals, letters, statues, diaries and more. We want to set up our own online museum, created by you, the students participating in the Anzac Centenary School Link Program. This will be our gift to the nations of France, Belgium and Australia – a museum created by the youth of these three great countries as our lasting commemoration of World War I.
I have already uploaded a number of images of unique objects that I have in my personal collection and I look forward to seeing your contributions. Have a go, the instructions are there and it is not hard. And when you caption your object make sure you tell us whom it is from.
Tim Gurry OAM
We have entered all school partner coordinates so that you can now find out exactly where your partner is located in France, Belgium and Australia. You can click on these co-ordinates and go directly to the respective school pages to find out what you partner has been doing at both local and international levels to mark the centenary of WW1.
Each school page now also includes a map of their school location too!
In November 2016, the students of Atheneum Nieuwpoort visited the graves of the Australian soldiers that are buried in Nieuwpoort. Each of the students chose a grave and placed a commemorative cross with a special message at its base. As they did this they asked – ‘who are you?’ – and pledged to work with their partners at Albany State High School to research the background of their fallen soldier. We believe that this is a great way to honour those who came to defend Europe, especially from as far away as Australia.
We are delighted to welcome the following schools to the exciting ACSLP!
Edouard Branaly High School in Amiens is partnered with Ellenbrook Secondary College in Western Australia.
GO! Atheneum Avelgem Belgium is partnered with Rosebery Middle School Palmerston in the Northern Territory.
MSKA Roeselare Belgium is partnered with Comet Bay College in Secret Harbour WA. The image below is of their fantastic military museum that they have set up within the school.
On 14 November the students of Marie Curie in Arras visited the British Cemetery Tilloy-lez Mofflaines to pay tribute to Australian soldiers who fought and died in World War 1. They laid commemorative crosses inscribed by themselves and their partner school in Australia and researched the names on the graves. One student, Matteo, read an emotional message on behalf of his friends addressed to their partners in Australia. They then recited ‘In Flanders Fields’ and sang the Australian national anthem. A truly personal and heartfelt ceremony which was recorded on video.
We have just returned from visiting 23 schools in France and Belgium. These schools are amongst 40 that have partnered with Australian schools to work on commemorative projects that showcase the impact of the First World War upon their respective communities.
Of course these wartime communities were very different. Communities along the Western Front were effectively the frontline, whereas in Australia communities waited for news of their loved ones fighting 12 000 km away ‘in some foreign land’.
The students and teachers involved in all countries have done some fantastic work, uncovered stories never before told and pledged to visit war graves, place a cross beneath a headstone and ask the question – ‘Who are you?’ Then our French and Belgian friends promise to adopt a grave, find out about this soldier and share his story with us.
Nathalie Witz, our great program coordinator in France and Belgium has enjoyed two weeks in Australia visiting schools, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney. The highlight of her trip was undoubtedly visiting her partner school in Heywood in the western district of Victoria. You can read all about this unique visit in this extract from the local press. Nath returns home on Wednesday. Bon voyage Nath – we will miss you.