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Students bring history to life

History A-level and Access to Higher Education students have been bringing history to life through a series of visits and projects.

Here are some of the highlights from the last term.

Visit to Turkey

In October, four History A-level students and their tutor Richard Duckett travelled to Turkey with a charity called the Gallipoli and Dardanelles International. This was in advance of a planned larger visit to mark the centenary of the 1915 Gallipoli Campaign.

The charity’s Turkish contacts meant that the group met dignitaries including the Australian High Commissioner and the principal of a local high school.

The group visited Troy  and then spent two days visitors visiting the Allied landing beaches and cemeteries (ANZAC, French, British and Turkish) and saw where Reading’s Trooper Potts won his VC and where Berkshire Yeomanry are buried.

Richard Duckett said: “It is so important to go and see where things happened rather than just learning about it in the classroom. The Gallipoli Peninsular was extra special as it is where Trooper Potts and the Berkshire Yeomanry were sent to fight.”

 

Following the visit, Gallipoli and Dardanelles International invited staff and students to join the Remembrance Day march in Whitehall, London, in November.

Teacher Richard Duckett and A-level History students Kitty Fitzgerald and Kasra Ahmadi joined the march. Kasra said: “The opportunity to be a part of the march was an absolute honour. The ability to walk side by side with our veterans and heroes was phenomenal, thrilling and breath-taking. The wave of goose bumps rushing up and down my back continued throughout the march, especially past The Cenotaph in Whitehall, as the royal bands played their tune. The overall experience was once in a life time for someone who is not ex-services and doesn't have ancestors who are veterans, and for that I am deeply grateful.”

Supporting Trooper Potts VC Memorial Trust

In November, members of Trooper Potts VC Memorial Trust were given a special award for their work to raise money for a statue of Trooper Fred Potts and the man he rescued, Trooper Arthur Andrews.

The award was presented at the Pride of Reading awards.

Reading College history students have been involved in the fundraising for this charity for several years and have visited local schools to raise the profile and share the story. The students teach a lesson about WW1 and talk about Trooper Potts and Andrews, getting the pupils to take part in activities such as writing a letter home, a diary entry and newspaper article.

The fundraising success means that a bronze sculpture will be erected outside the law courts in Reading in October 2015.

Richard Duckett said: “It has been such a rewarding project to be involved in and has given the students opportunities which they wouldn’t otherwise have had otherwise. Through our involvement with the charity we have also attended some really high profile events such as an RAF HQ dinner and visiting the Australian Consulate for Christmas press launch when Chris Tarrant became patron.”

For more information about this Pride of Reading award see:

http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/local-news/pride-reading-2014---special-8059724

Holocaust talk

For the fourth year running Reading College invited the Holocaust Education Trust to help run two workshops for history A-level and Access to HE students. The sessions included a holocaust survivor testimony from Rudi Oppenheimer.

The event was attended by 74 people, including a student who had left college and gone to university but who came back especially back for it.

Student Yinka Maria said: “I found Rudi’s speech very captivating and emotional. It made me think about my life now and now I am grateful for my current situation. The holocaust is an incredibly important part of history that can’t be forgotten. It is people like Rudi that keep these amazing stories alive.”

Kerry Haywand said: “Rudi’s talk was inspiring, heart breaking and eye opening. His story is fascinating and it was amazing to hear how it affected his life in such a destructive way. His talk made me feel incredibly solemn.”

Following the workshops it is hoped that a smaller group of students will be taking part in the ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ project.