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Students to attend Battle of Passchendaele commemorations

Students to attend Battle of Passchendaele commemorations

A website created by four St Paul’s students has won them the opportunity to attend the 100th anniversary commemorations of the Battle of Passchendaele in Belgium later this year.

Tony Wu, Conor Horrigan, Dylan Woodhouse (all Year 12) and Lucy Tustin (Year 13) used digital technology to produce a curriculum resource for Year 7 to 10 students about the Battle of Passchendaele for their entry into a national competition organised by the Ministry of Education.

The interactive website titled ‘Blood & Mud’ was selected as one of the winning entries and the students will travel to Belgium in October to attend the centennial commemorations as part of the New Zealand delegation. The other two winning entries came from St Margaret’s College in Christchurch and Rotorua Girls’ High School.

The Ministry of Education launched the competition in May, in partnership with the sponsors Fields of Remembrance Trust and the Passchendaele Society. The panel of judges, chaired by Dame Karen Sewell, Chair of Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu, said they were very impressed by the high quality of the entries.

Of the St Paul’s entry, the judges were impressed by the use of social media, community engagement and provocative questions. They applauded the website’s ability to address diversity, connect the past with present and encourage students in Years 7 to 10 to engage and do their own research. It had the standout “wow factor”.

The panel also included Paula Hay, Education Specialist from The Network for Learning Ltd, Iain MacKenzie, President of the Passchendaele Society and Matthew Tonks, Senior Digital Adviser from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage WW100 Programme Office.

For the students this has been a revelation into the impact of Passchendaele on New Zealand. “As our project commenced, under the expert tuition of our teacher Mr Defyd Williams, we soon learnt about the intricacies of Passchendaele. He drove home to us the impact of Passchendaele on New Zealand; the lives lost, the communities devastated, and the impact it had on our progression as a nation. With this in mind, we analysed Passchendaele in a different light, one which focused not just on the battle itself, but on the people involved and the legacy they would leave behind,” says Lucy.

The students will travel to Belgium on October 7 to attend the National Commemoration Service at the Tyne Cot Cemetery near Zonnebeke in West Flanders – the final resting place of 520 New Zealanders and a memorial to those missing in battle. They will also attend the New Zealand Memorial and Garden Opening on October 12. As well as the commemoration, the students will visit the Passchendaele Battlefields, surrounding areas and the Flanders Fields Museum, as well as Paris and Amsterdam, where they will visit the Anne Frank house, before returning to New Zealand.

To view the students’ website click here

Photo Caption: (L-R) Conor Horrigan, Lucy Tustin, Tony Wu, and Dylan Woodhouse.