Lasting legacy planted

REMEMBRANCE: St Joseph Primary School students Marley Ferres, left, Alexis McKnight, Cody Wilkinson, Paiten McClelland and Cienna Cordwell lie amongst the school's field of poppies.

REMEMBRANCE: St Joseph Primary School students Marley Ferres, left, Alexis McKnight, Cody Wilkinson, Paiten McClelland and Cienna Cordwell lie amongst the school's field of poppies.

STUDENTS at two district primary schools honoured fallen soldiers this week by planting Gallipoli oak trees and creating a field of handmade poppies.

The National Trust of Australia aims to plant up to 2000 juvenile Gallipoli oak trees in Victorian primary schools between 2015 and 2018 to mark the centenary of the ANZAC landings, with St Joseph's Primary School and Murrabit Group School beneficiaries of the program.

The trees were propagated from acorns collected by soldiers during World War One and sent back to Australia.

St Joseph's Primary School students also made around 500 poppies out of art supplies, with the school holding a short service on Monday, which was attended by Kerang and District Returned and Services League sub-branch members.

RSL members then assisted students to plant the tree.

St Joseph's school principal, Nicholas Hall said the project was a great way to engage students with the day.

"We always focus on ANZAC Day as it's important to acknowledge those who died. [The poppies] also tie in with their visual arts program," he said.

Some students had a personal connection with the day's events, such as grade three student Siena Ferres, whose great grandfather fought in World War Two.

"A lot of bombs killed [sic] villages and lots of innocent people died. My grandfather helped some of those people," she said.

"The poppies remind me of my great grandfather." 

RSL sub-branch president, Robert Hampton gave a speech explaining the significance of the tree to the primary school students. 

"This wonderful project not only teaches Victorian students about the ANZAC legacy but allows them to pick up some basic horticultural skills as they learn how to care for their special Gallipoli Oak," he said. 

GROWTH: Murrabit Group School students Noah Shea, left, Angus McDonald, Thomas Leahy and Kate Heffer joined Max Malloy in planting a Gallipoli oak sapling.

GROWTH: Murrabit Group School students Noah Shea, left, Angus McDonald, Thomas Leahy and Kate Heffer joined Max Malloy in planting a Gallipoli oak sapling.

Murrabit Group School students planted their Gallipoli oak tree during a ceremony on Tuesday, which also included the recital of poems pupils had written about the war.

Koondrook/Barham RSL sub-branch representative, Max Molloy attended and read an excerpt of Banjo Patterson's poetry.

Books based on real war stories were awarded to the writers of the two best poems, Noah Shea and Angus McDonald.

School principal, Greg Adams said the school was very honoured to be selected as a recipient of a Gallipoli oak.

"Children at Murrabit Group School learn about the significance of ANZAC Day, remember those who served their country and in many cases made the ultimate sacrifice," he said.

"This Gallipoli oak project planting furthers the school link to a very important part of Australian history," he said.

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