Hillpark pupils honour the fallen

HISTORY buffs from Hillpark Secondary are marking the First World War centenary by learning more about life in the trenches.

The school was this week visited by Steven Jolly, who gave a talk on World War One soldiers from the surrounding area before letting the youngsters loose on uniforms, helmets and real artefacts found on the battlefield.

Retired teacher Steven — now working with school workshop project Gesta — told The Extra: “Through these objects we work out what life was like for soldiers during the war. We also populate those stories with local stories, on a whole range of people, some as local as Pollokshaws.

“The kids were fascinated, asking questions like real historians and beginning to appreciate what war really meant.

“They tried the uniform on, realised it was heavy and uncomfortable — and by doing that, they have a different understanding of what war was like.

“It goes beyond the textbook and brings it alive. These are killing tools — objects which, they begin to realise, would change lives and end lives.”

Brave volunteer Abbas Syed was conscripted to try on a uniform, finding out first-hand how uncomfortable trench life could be.

For Ryan McCafferty and Ellen Cameron (both 13) the event has sparked an interest in WWI.

Ryan commented: “Learning about how they fought and how they had to live in the trenches has made me interested in finding out more.

“I feel sorry for the Scottish soldiers who didn’t return.”

History teacher Nelson Mundell added: “The event fits in perfectly with the centenary year and Steven has provided a unique learning experience for the kids, who probably won’t get another chance to see and handle objects like that.

“Although it’s a lighthearted project, they understand the gravity of the subject and I hope they’ll take it forward when they study history in third year.”

Steven added: “I’m trying to bring history alive and give it a sense of purpose. They form ideas in their own minds and hopefully think of the world at peace.

“Our children are tomorrow’s leaders and we want them to shape the world. Learning about the past does impact on the future.”