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School wins Anne Frank tree prize

An Anne Frank sapling is planted at Painsley Catholic College, Cheadle, Staffordshire

By on Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Painsley Catholic College wins a sapling from the tree in Amsterdam (Lynne Machin)

Painsley Catholic College wins a sapling from the tree in Amsterdam (Lynne Machin)

One of very few Anne Frank saplings in the world was officially planted at Painsley Catholic College, Cheadle, Staffordshire this week, writes Józef Łopuszyński.

The event took place thanks to the inspiration of newly qualified teacher Lauren Nicholson-Ward and her Year 11A* RE class which entered a national competition.

The award, which was given to the students to recognise the particularly innovative Anne Frank project they had taken part in, is a graft from the actual tree that was standing in the garden of the famous secret annex in Amsterdam. Gillian Walnes MBE (co-founder of the Anne Frank Trust) and Eva Schloss (Anne Frank’s posthumous step-sister) were particularly impressed with the innovative project that the students had completed.

Miss Nicholson-Ward explained: “Sixty five ‘tags’ were created, one for each year since Anne’s death. These tags were secretly placed around the school grounds. Hand written by all of the students in the class, each them contained a powerful message; from Anne’s diary, from Scripture, and from the students’ hopes and dreams.

“Each student was advised to choose quotations that would speak to others, that would inspire both thought and action and that ultimately would strengthen the spirit of the school as being committed to fighting prejudice and discrimination.

“Though the mission remained secret, the class hoped that other students would begin to notice the little messages around the school grounds, attached to trees, fences, tables and pillars, and start to wonder about them, question their meaning and consider their application.

“It seems that the real measure of the success of this project was the impact that it had on students. The written work that they produced as a result of the project was profound and often moving.”