Part of our aim here at Brune Park is to help our students find their voice and use it in a positive manner. Our year 10 student, Jack, managed this in front of his entire year group, when he presented a heartfelt speech in honour of D-Day. You can read Jack’s wonderfully written blog post below.
A huge well done to you, Jack!
Recently, we all celebrated and commemorated the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, when British and Allied Forces sailed and flew over to Normandy to try and take back control of France from Nazi occupation, restoring peace to the world. Although we already celebrate Armistice (or Remembrance) Sunday in November to remember those who gave their lives to fight in the wars, I felt that as a school, we should be doing that little bit extra as this is such a significant year. After consulting many teachers about my concerns, along with a friend, we were told that a whole school silence would not be feasible within the short time frame left to organise it. Frustrated by the response I was given, I decided to take the matter into my own hands: even if we couldn’t do a whole school silence, surely we could at least have one for a year group? After this revelation, I swiftly contacted my head of year, Mr Stokes to see if we could do anything to remember. I was expecting a simple answer of: ‘Yes, of course, Jack, why don’t we have a moment’s silence at the end of assembly?’ Although I did get that answer, it wasn’t quite how I expected it.
Now, before I knew it, I was asked to have the privilege of not only leading the assembly but to also conduct the minutes’ silence where we would all (hopefully) stand out of respect. Nervous about the outcome, I was up to the challenge and began thinking about how I could deliver my speech, only having 1 day to prepare. Starting with images for inspiration was a good idea; I found some thought-provoking images of the D-Day landings online and made a quick presentation comprised of these photographs. I also gathered many ideas of what to say, making it serious, quick and powerful.
Come the morning of the assembly, I had prepared as much as I could have done. While still extremely nervous (not because of who I was in front of or how many, purely because of what it was I was presenting and the importance of the assembly) I was invited to the front of the hall to deliver my speech. Powerful. These were the words that came out of Mrs Andrew-Powers’ mouth when I delivered the speech.
“When they went off to France they were unsafe, unsure and never prepared for what would encounter them. For the days that we enjoy on the beach, they gave their day on the beach. They gave their tomorrow so we could have our today, we must remember.”
That was a short extract of the speech before I asked everyone to stand with me as we all united for a moment to remember the brave soldiers who gave their lives for our country. Without any prompt from staff, as soon as I marked the start of the silence, everybody in the room silently and respectfully stood, bowing their heads as they remembered. This moment was special. The whole of Year Ten stood in silence joined by many teachers and the Senior Leadership Team was almost surreal, people of all different ages, different roles all stood, united together for the exact same reason; showing their respects for the soldiers, to commemorate, reflect and respect.
By Jack Thorpe