War poetry wins prizes for pupils

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Poignant words of war were told through poetry in an Inter-House competition at Tadcaster Grammar School.

Year 9 students studied various war poems, including Exposure and Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen and Tennyson’s’ Charge of the Light Brigade. 

The English Faculty then ran a competition to let students have a go at producing their own war poetry (they could write about any conflict, including modern warfare). Students were given time in lessons to begin their poems and those who wanted to were able to submit an entry. 

Helen Cooney, KS3 Leader English, said: “I am delighted by the standard of the poems which have been entered this year and I know that the Year 12 students who judged the competition found it very difficult to choose winners.

“The poems have a mature and thoughtful style and are a credit to the talent and hard work of our students.” 

The standard was very high with Maisie Priestley from Oglethorpe House being chosen as the outright winner.

Other House winners were - Reuben Hillyard (Calcaria), Freya McCleary (Dawson), Alfie Jefferson (Fairfax), Alisa Craven (Toulston) and Emily O’Sullivan (Wharfe). Runners-up were Eleanor Briggs (Dawson), Elizabeth Wright (Fairfax), Ellie Baker (Oglethorpe), James Richards (Oglethorpe), Lucy Sheard (Oglethorpe), Lydia Greengrass (Calcaria), Mackenzie Brooke (Dawson) and Matthew Richardson (Calcaria).

The competition was judged by Year 12 English Language and Literature students and the overall winner was decided by TGS Librarian Valerie Brett.

“My favourite is Maisie Priestley with her entry ‘Why them?’, said Mrs Brett.

“The line ‘the sound of bombs falling gently in the distance’ captures that distant sound of rumbling, that can be so terrifying when close up, but oddly ‘gentle’ when a long way away,” she added.

Year 12 student Harry Bean, who is studying A level Language and Literature, also chose Maisie saying: “I chose Maisie’s entry as the winner because of the very clear and stark imagery detailing the horrors of war.

“I found the constant repetition of ‘Why them?’ at the end of each stanza really effective in conveying a sense of injustice for all that happened to the soldiers.”

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