To mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1 and to pay tribute to the generation who changed our world, the students at Merstham Park School have been making poppies.
The poppy became an iconic symbol for remembrance because it is such a resilient flower of beauty and was able to grow in the thousands amongst the destruction of the war. Students at Merstham Park School have learnt about Remembrance across the curriculum this week and have studied the famous poem by Lt Col John McCrae, 'In Flanders Fields'. McCrae’s poem inspired an American academic, Moina Michael, to make and sell silk poppies. The Royal British Legion, formed in 1921, ordered 9 million of these poppies and sold them on 11th November that year. Purchasing a poppy has now become an annual, international tradition amongst many.
Each student at Merstham Park has hand crafted a poppy using a plastic bottle and acrylic paint to create a 3D poppy which has been placed at the Merstham Memorial in preparation for Remembrance Sunday. Mrs Harkness, Leader of the Arts at Merstham Park School, led the students in this project to ensure that the occasion was marked and that students understood not only the importance of Remembrance but also connecting with the local community. As this is currently a new school, some of the students have dedicated their time and have made more than one poppy to create the 100 poppies in commemoration of the 100 years that have passed. Mrs Harkness noted “I am very pleased with the students’ engagement and the beautiful poppies they have created. It has been a pleasure to see them so keen both in and outside of lessons, to participate and share their creativity with the local community”.
Mrs Harkness contacted the council as well as Bryan and Tom at the British Legion in Merstham to gain permission to install the poppies. They were keen to participate in our Remembrance Ceremony and agreed to mark the occasion of installing the poppies at the Memorial by playing The Last Post, holding a 2 minute silence and reading a poem. Our prefects and student council team attended the ceremony on Friday 9th November at 11 a.m. and helped to place the poppies onto the gates.
Mr Beard, Headteacher at Merstham Park School commented “The poppies look striking when arranged next to one another and have taken a prominent place lining the gates at the Memorial. All staff at Merstham Park School are proud of our students’ achievements and their participation in honouring the lives of all servicemen and servicewomen who have died fighting for our country. We will remember them.”