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High school students to connect with nation’s war history

SIX high school winners of the 2019-20 Frank MacDonald Memorial Prize (FMMP) will travel to Europe next year to learn about World War 1 in honour of Tasmania’s Anzac spirit.

The FMMP memorialises the life of Tasmania’s last World War 1 veteran Frank MacDonald – who passed away in 2003 at the age of 107 – by building a personal connection to Tasmanian and Australian war history.

Students Lachlan Rogers from Taroona High School and William Zeeman from The Hutchins School, as well as other students from Riverside High School, Kingston High School, Scotch Oakburn College and Tasman District School, will travel to Belgium and France for ANZAC Day 2020 to take part in a study tour of the Western Front.

The Hutchins School year nine history teacher Ivor Leonard was one of the teachers to experience the most recent FMMP trip.

Mr Leonard said the experiences of those attending ranged from “highly enjoyable to highly emotional.”

“A number of students were in tears,” he said.

“The whole concept of the FMMP is fantastic, it’s great that the Government supports the program and pays for students to go over to France and Belgium to learn about it in person rather than history lessons.”

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Guy Barnett, who recently announced the successful recipients of this year’s FMMP, said thousands of Tasmanian students had found their own personal meaning in the events of the war and how it changed our nation.

“The trip plays a key role in helping Tasmanian students to learn more about Tasmania’s rich military history and in passing on the history of World War 1 to new generations of young Tasmanians,” he said.

The Frank MacDonald Memorial Prize, an essay-based competition, is open to all Tasmanian year nine students, including home-schooled students in the same year level.

Caption: From left, William Zeeman, Hutchins recipient of the Frank MacDonald Memorial Prize, with history teacher Ivor Leonard.

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