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HARRISON SCHOOL - ACT Having only just begun its fifth year of operation, Harrison School in the ACT has not had a long history with which to build up their traditions. However, with over 1100 students there this year, 220 of whom are members of Defence Force Families, the significance of Anzac Day has been given special attention. Of the first four Anzac Day Ceremonies held at Harrison, two have been entered into the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Anzac Day Awards. In 2009 Harrison School was recognised with a ‘Highly Commended’ certificate for their efforts. In 2011, they were awarded the Top prize amongst Primary School entries in the Territory. Year 5/6 students from two classes presented the Anzac Day Commemoration Service. With the help of their teachers and the Defence School Transition Aides, their vision was to create a reflective atmosphere within the hall. The stage was set with dim lighting and candles. Props were borrowed from the Australian War Memorial and carefully laid out for students and guests to see. A small setting of poppies made by the children, together with crosses, was laid at the front. The Australian flag, illuminated centre-stage, provided a backdrop and was central to the wreath and poppy-laying portions of the service. The service began like many of its kind, welcoming guests and honouring the sacrifices made by the men and women of our history
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and those still serving today. Then from a corner stage music began and Year 5/6 students performed a beautifully moving rendition of the song “Lest We Forget”. Following this, the invited guest speaker was welcomed to the stage. Harrison School students were delivered a thought-provoking and sensitive presentation by a member of the Australian Regular Army, who shared his experiences of the ANZAC spirit. At this point in the assembly, the representative teacher moved to the main stage to lay the wreath. Then, whilst the music of ‘The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ was heard throughout the hall, each class had a representative who came up to the stage to lay their poppy. As the last poppy was placed, ‘The Ode of Remembrance’ was recited. A musician from the Royal Military College Band then performed the Last Post. This was followed by a Minute’s Silence and then the Rouse. All students and guests remained standing for the Australian National Anthem. The Year 5/6 students concluded the formal part of the ceremony with a tribute to the
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memory of the ANZACs, a poem called ‘The Anzac Memorial’. This was followed by a PowerPoint presentation produced by the coordinating 5/6 teacher. This incorporated photographs taken during her recent trip to Gallipoli and was accompanied by the song ‘And They March’. The students, staff, official guests and families of Harrison School had all participated in a very moving and solemn occasion. Now it was time to move the whole school outside to the Basketball courts. The school had been most fortunate in engaging the time and skills of the Federal Guard’s Precision Drill Team. The service was ended with an amazing performance, the likes of which had not been witnessed before by many staff and students. Their efforts were extremely well received and talked about for days to come. Many hours behind the scene had ensured that the ‘Respect’ and ‘Honour’ the occasion deserved, had been achieved. Harrison School was very appreciative of the time given to them by all members of the ADF who participated in this significant day.
The Last Post magazine - Autumn 2012 - Anzac Day Special