Students from local high schools met recently with a veteran who served in Afghanistan. This was part of a ground-breaking project for academically-gifted Year 10 students run by the Humanities Department at Blackpool Sixth which focused on the very topical theme of peace and conflict.
The project, which forms part of the college’s Excellence Academy, consisted of four after-school sessions which helped the youngsters develop their skills and confidence in exploring challenging topics beyond the school curriculum. A particular highlight of the project was the opportunity for the students to hear from Rick Clement, who served with the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment in Afghanistan and received severe, life-changing injuries in that conflict.
Rick commented, ““It was a fantastic honour to be invited back to Blackpool Sixth to talk to the pupils about my experiences in the Army and particularly Afghanistan. It was great to hear their questions at the end and that they had enjoyed listening to my story.”.
Emily Drew, a Year 10 student from Baines School said, “I found the talk with Rick very insightful, and the talk definitely made an impact on me. It was very powerful!”
Miller Casson from Hodgson Academy described the talk as “an enlightening experience that has enabled me to comprehend the realities of modern warfare.”
Project organiser, Peter Wright who is the college’s Excellence Programme Co-ordinator commented, “It was fantastic to bring Rick and local school pupils together for this opportunity. Rick spoke about his experiences of conflict through inspiring examples of resilience and overcoming challenges. The pupils used this incredibly valuable experience of oral history in a debate competition in the final session.”
The schools who are participating in the project were Baines School, St. Bede’s Catholic High School, Cardinal Allen Catholic High School, Lytham St.Annes High School, Hodgson Academy, Highfield Leadership Academy, South Shore Academy and Millfield Science and Performing Arts College.
The Excellence Programme at Blackpool Sixth provides an extremely extensive range of subject-based and extra-curricular activities and support for academic high-fliers. The programme includes specific help with the application and selection processes for the most prestigious universities such as Oxbridge, other Russell Group universities and medical schools.