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Remembrance at Withernsea High School

14 November 2023 (by admin)

Over 350 handmade poppies formed the centrepiece of this year’s Remembrance commemorations at Withernsea High School.

The poppies, constructed by students working in the Art and DT departments, were positioned around the school site to create a series of visually impressive displays.

Following an appeal to the school community for the donation of plastic bottles to help make the poppies, the Key Stage 3 Art Club led the way on their transformation into symbols of remembrance. The club’s dozen or so members subsequently spent time in their weekly after school sessions turning over 350 plastic bottles into reusable poppies.

Helping to run the project was Alison Hawkins, Teacher of Art, who said: “I think it’s fantastic that the students put in so much effort. They were here every week, cutting up bottles, using heat guns to attach the stems and painting each of the poppies by hand. They created a production line and took great care in making sure each poppy was of the best quality. The students took the lead on the designing and positioning of the poppies – deciding where they should be placed around the school site. They were very proactive and a credit to themselves and the school.”

Among others contributing to the display were the school’s Year 10 and 11 Engineering students who used their skills to make around 40 poppies from aluminium. All were hand cut and spray painted by the students, before being placed in the school’s courtyard area which, earlier this year, was brought into use as an outdoor classroom. The space also hosts a number of memorials to former staff and friends of the school and provides a quiet place for reflection. The poppies placed here are destined to be cleaned and sold to help raise further funds for the poppy appeal.

Meanwhile, throughout the week leading up to Armistice Day, daily year group assemblies took place on the theme of Remembrance. These explained the significance of wearing poppies, as well as the history behind local wartime land, air and sea defences.

The assemblies were led by Second in Humanities, Clare Atkin, who said: “It was a pleasure to deliver last week’s assemblies and be given an opportunity to praise the hard work and thoughtfulness of the students who put together the beautiful poppy displays around the site. It is always important to remind the students of their direct connection to the sacrifice and role that Withernsea played in the First and Second World Wars. The sea defences, the Owthorne airfield and familiar names on the memorial were all useful talking points.”

On Saturday, 11th November, a handful of students joined representatives from other local organisations for the Remembrance Day service at the town’s World War One memorial. Laying a wreath on behalf of the school were Annabel and Crystal Hayton, while Summer Reid added a youthful voice to proceedings by reciting the exhortation.

Helping to coordinate the school’s Remembrance activities this year was Kim Wallis, Admin Support Assistant, who said: “Having seen a number of impressive displays locally, especially in Patrington, I wanted to help organise a poppy display at the school and thought the main drive would be an ideal place to position one. The students did a really good job of creating the poppies in such a short space of time.

For the past month we have also been selling remembrance items including traditional poppies, badges and handknitted designs, which have been snapped up by staff and students. Early estimates suggest we have collected well over £150 in donations and we are looking forward to finding out the final total. Thank you to everyone who donated.”

ABOVE: Engineering student Aiden Jumps with some of the aluminium poppies made by students in Years 10 and 11. 

ABOVE: The aluminium poppies were placed in the school’s outdoor classroom which also serves as a sheltered space for quiet reflection.

ABOVE: Some of the 350 poppies made by the Key Stage 3 Art Club found a home in planters at the front of school. 

ABOVE: Art club members helped position pockets of poppies around the school’s main drive. Pictured here are a selection outside the Holderness Learning Centre. 

ABOVE: Year 11 student Summer Reid (second left) read the exhortation at Withernsea's WW1 memorial last Saturday. [ 

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