Since Shared Histories was launched in October 2013, many New Zealand schools have embarked on joint projects with their French partners. Here are some examples of successful projects that may inspire you if you are thinking about getting involved this year.
Nos fils, nos familles: creating a Wall of Remembrance
Epsom Girls Grammar School, Auckland, New Zealand Lycée Gay Lussac, Chauny, France
Based on collaborative investigations, the students of both schools are following the story of an individual soldier from New Zealand to France, during and after WW1. As a result of their research, students are producing paintings, letters and poems (in French and in English), graffiti, pages from diaries, etc., which will be showcased in a mural dedicated to the men and women who fought together on the Western Front. This ceramic and glass Wall of Remembrance, which is being designed by an artist using the students’ productions, will be inaugurated in April 2015 when 40 students from Epsom Girls travel to France and visit their partners in Chauny. These activities have led to the establishment of a sister school relationship (appariement) which has now been ratified through the French and New Zealand school authorities.
Cheval de guerre: the horse during the Great War in the Somme
Nga Tawa Diocesan School, Marton, New Zealand Collège Jules Ferry, Conty, France
To develop their project, Nga Tawa and Collège Jules Ferry have built on the horse breeding tradition which is a common feature of their respective communities, Marton and Conty. Through visits to museums, studying films and researching archive, the students in both schools are collecting materials and learning about the role of war horses during WW1. A video document showing the contribution of the horse to the war effort in the Somme will be produced as a result of this work. A group from Jules Ferry visited Marton in November 2014. A reciprocal visit by Nga Tawa is planned in 2015.
Disobedience and rebellion of soldiers in WW1 in New Zealand and in France
Baradene College of the Sacred Heart, Auckland, New Zealand Lycée Professionnel Gay Lussac, Chauny, France
Students in Baradene College and Lycée Professionnel Gay Lussac are jointly researching the level of disobedience and rebellion of soldiers on the Western Front and the treatment of conscientious objectors in both France and New Zealand. Challenging the heroic vision of the Great War, the study will use various resources including historical documentation from libraries and museums or films. As a result of this work, the students will produce a series of posters and a booklet which will form the materials of an exhibition to be held at Lycée Gay Lussac and at the Chauny town hall. The Baradene students will travel to France and visit their partners in Chauny in 2015, when the exhibition will be officially opened.
Wellington College, New Zealand Lycée Européen, Villers-Cotterêts, France
Rugby has always been a strong tradition at Wellington College. With their partners in Villers-Cotterêts, Wellington College students are investigating the personal backgrounds, overseas postings and military engagements as well as post-war careers of the school’s “old boys” present at the 1909 college rugby match and later sent to fight on the Western front. A joint website has been developed to display the findings of the research. In April 2015, students from the two schools will meet in Le Quesnoy, the town liberated by the New Zealand Division in 1918, to commemorate Anzac Day. Jennifer Bush-Daumec, French teacher at Wellington College says: "I see this project as an opportunity for year 11 students to use their French in a real world situation with a clear goal. They are already in email and facebook contact and we are adapting internal assessments to accommodate this project”.