Students honour WWI history

SIX Tasmania students will receive the chance to tour the Western Front as recipients of the 2018-19 Frank MacDonald Memorial Prize.

The Memorial Prize is named after Tasmania’s last World War I veteran Frank MacDonald, and has been awarded annually by the Tasmanian Government since 2004.

The six students will now have the opportunity to take part in a 10-day study tour of the Western Front in France and Belgium in many of the areas where Frank MacDonald served.

Tasmania’s Attorney-General and long-time attendee of the Memorial Prize Elise Archer announced this year’s recipients at a special ceremony.

“The trip provides an opportunity for young Tasmanians to link with veterans and gain a greater understanding of Tasmanian and Australian war history, and the role of Tasmanians in World War I and other wars and conflicts,” Ms Archer said.

“It 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 I to new generations of young Tasmanians.

“All students returning from the trip say that the experience has had a lasting impact on them.”

The Frank MacDonald Memorial Prize is an initiative of the Tasmanian Government, supported by RSL Tasmania.

The 2018-19 recipients are Griffin McLaughlin (Tarremah Steiner School), Jenna Stacey (Mount Carmel College), Lydia Kelly (St Patrick’s College), Mia Cooper (Ogilvie High School), Nell Hentschel (Bayview Secondary College) and William Scott (Scotch Oakburn College).

Mount Carmel College student Jenna Stacey said she “couldn’t believe it” when she found out she had been selected as one of the recipients for the 2018-19 Prize.

“I was shocked and amazed and even now I’m still pinching myself that next year I will be heading off on this once in a lifetime experience,” she said.

“I’m most looking forward to being immersed in the place, being there in the moment and it being real and not just something that you read about in a history book.”

For history buff Mia Cooper, from Ogilvie High School, winning the prize is a dream come true.

“What I’m looking forward to most is getting to know all the people with whom we are travelling, as well as putting a visual representation to all the statistics that we read about,” she said.

“For me, our history is very important as it gives us the opportunity to learn about our past.”

The Frank MacDonald Memorial Prize is administered by the Department of Education and the Department of Communities Tasmania.

It is open to Tasmanian year nine students from government and non-government schools, as well as home-schooled students in the same year level.

Caption: From left, Mia Cooper, from Oglivie High School, Attorney-General Elise Archer and Jenna Stacey, from Mount Carmel College.

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