Jamestown students surpass teacher's expectations on WWI history assignment

It was a simple history task assigned to Year 8 and 9 students at the Jamestown Community School, and what was made of it by students, has surpassed the expectations of their teacher and local community members.

HISTORY: Year 9 Jamestown Community school students, Eli Moss, Tom Clark, Meg Kelly, Chloe O'Dea, Alicia McDonald and Monique Marlow.

HISTORY: Year 9 Jamestown Community school students, Eli Moss, Tom Clark, Meg Kelly, Chloe O'Dea, Alicia McDonald and Monique Marlow.

Morgan Wallis, the intervention and special education coordinator and Year 8/9 history teacher at the school set her students a simple task of researching a family member connected with either World War I or II, to use secondary and primary sources to support their research and then to present it in an essay form. 

“It surpassed what I anticipated and expected”, Morgan said. 

“I went from this is the task that hits the curriculum and what is required for Year 9 history, to something that evolved to a task that students were highly engaged with, they were calling across the classroom saying ‘my significant person was apart of this battalion and this battle’, so we had those links as well in those battles.”

“The students went home and researched, and found out a person from their family, came to school, researched, found appropriate secondary and primary resources and used that to formulate their essay writing. They also had to find out a significant battle they were in and then they used that information to then write some stuff about the Anzac spirit.”

What the students produced were of exceptional high quality and were significant essays, which brought to life notable community members who served for our country. 

The high quality pieces of work have been framed and donated to the RSL in a bid to create a stronger relationship between the school and community, but also to recognise that the new generations are not forgetting who came before them, and the work they did to give Australians the life they now live. 

The outcome of the task is exactly what Morgan anticipated and she is glad to be able to extend a connection to the local RSL through the assignment. 

“We felt a need to share that knowledge and understanding of those fallen soldiers with the rest of the community. We have donated them to the RSL, so community members can come down and read about significant people, and have that closer relationship and link with the community.”

Student, Chloe O’Dea participated in the assignment and also submitted her work to the Anzac Spirit Prize, which if successful could see her on a 14 day tour of Vietnam. 

She says that the assignment was very fascinating and school work that she was actually able to enjoy. 

“I found out lots about my great, great grandfather. I found out that he lived in Quorn and he also went to jail a few times. It was pretty cool to find out.”

“It was very fascinating. I had no clue that I had any relatives in the war, and it is really interesting- the things I found out were quite amazing.”

“It was awesome, it was really enjoyable and it is always good when you can enjoy your school work. It was interesting and I am very glad we did it. “

The work was hung in the Jamestown RSL in time for the visit from His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, The South Australian Governor last Tuesday morning. 

It was important the work was highlighted to His Excellency, to demonstrate the understanding of the current generation. 

“We are opening up more channels of communication and tapping into local resources.”

“For students to see that it is not just about the internet, it is about the older generations and the people who were in the war.”

“For the Governor to see that our students, this new generation, are understanding that men and women sacrificed their lives to make sure that we lived in a country that we can live the way that we are now, these next generations are seeing those links. For him to see that these memories are upheld, is really good for us.”