Ten Gifted and Talented students in Years 7 and 8 were involved in a two hour session with Mrs Dudman last Friday where they learnt about the outbreak of the war and the impact that it had on people. The students had the opportunity to read the war declaration that was published in The Daily Mail, as well as look at copies of comics published in 1914 and recruitment posters of the era. They then wrote their entries for the competition. Other students in Years 7-12 also spent time in their English lessons preparing to write entries over the course of the week.
Mrs Dudman and Mrs Fossey judged the entries on Tuesday and, after much deliberation, decided on two winners: Lauren Brewster (8JF) and Thomas Varley (7KHB) (pictured above), whose entries are illustrated below. As a reward for their efforts, Thomas and Lauren have been invited by the Royal British Legion to read their poems as part of the Armed Forces Day service on Ham Green this Saturday. They will also be awarded a prize each by the Royal British Legion for their work.
Three other students, Lucy Cullimore (10RAC), Libby Dean (7KHB) and Joel Henderson (7KHB) were all highly commended and will be awarded a runners-up prize in assemblies next week.
Mrs Dudman said: “We were really impressed with the quality of the entries to the competition – particularly from students in Year 7. The students captured the atmosphere well and wrote with real empathy and compassion. We are extremely proud of Thomas and Lauren and look forward to hearing them read their poems on Saturday.”
I see tears streaming down Mother’s face,
while Father cradles her in his arms.
He forces a smile at me,
but it comes off as a grimace,
reflecting the pain within his breaking heart.
I feel shut-out,
as whispers pass through the air around me.
I feel tears welling up in my eyes,
and I choke on my own sobs.
My ragged hair falls into my eyes
but Father is no longer there to wipe it away.
I hear the door click behind him,
shutting out the world and leaving me feeling scared,
I take my brother’s clammy hand and hold him close.
It seems like he is the only one left in the world…
Mother comes back
but her arms don’t comfort me like Father’s do.
She feels too fragile,
like she will shatter any minute.
Her cheek is damp against my own
and she doesn’t tell the stories like Father does.
My heart pines for him.
I sense something is wrong.
I don’t know where he is
or if he will ever return.
Lauren Brewster 8JF
Red and Grey (Part 1)
The celebration’s like New Year.
The beautiful bunting,
soon to be viciously torn down,
by the hail of bullets
into the blackness.
Worse on the battlefields,
in the rat infested trenches.
No king and country to look towards,
just the sound of bullets
to guide you to the enemy when it begins.
The gruesome gas forcing you
to watch your friends and family
take their final gasp.
The cheer at the start.
The scream at the end.
One battle after another.
Listening to the growling guns
and the screams like birdsong.
Wading through the sea of bodies…
only to find more.
But when the bell rings
to secure the end.
it’s joy, happiness and freedom
and you always lose track
of the red and grey.
Thomas Varley 7KHB