GALLERY: Schools gather to commemorate ANZAC Day 2017

It was an early start on Tuesday, 25 April, for many students and teachers throughout the diocese who gathered alongside the general public and veterans at services and marches to pay their respects on ANZAC Day. Schools also came together to commemorate with school liturgies and special assemblies.

The Belmont ANZAC Day March is one of the largest community events in Newcastle and each year, students and staff from St Francis Xavier’s College, Belmont are actively involved. Marching along the Pacific Highway from George Street to the memorial in Cullen Park, the school community joined thousands of others this ANZAC Day, honouring those who fought in the war.

Showing a great sense of duty, respect and pride, the SFX squad comprised students from Kindergarten to Year 6 who all marched proudly in uniform behind the school banner and executive staff.

School Principal, Louise Outram said, “Every year, SFX chooses to participate actively in the Belmont ANZAC Day March. We have marched in the searing heat, gale force winds and torrential rain, but no matter the conditions, our children turn out to march and that makes me very proud to lead such a respectful, proud group of young Australians.”

Each year, the school community of St Joseph’s Primary School, Wingham, also marches in the local community parade. With the school flag in hand, students from Kindergarten to Year 6 participated in the ceremony where they followed the route from town square to town hall, laying a wreath on behalf of the school.

Back at school, the Year 6 school leaders held a special liturgy where members from the local RSL were invited to speak about the significance of ANZAC Day. Marking the 102nd anniversary, the infant students made 102 doves to walk in during the procession to symbolise peace.

“ANZAC Day is a tradition that we want our students to embrace and respect as it signifies why they have the ability to live like they do today, with freedom,” said school principal, Emma Timmins.

At St Brigid’s Primary School, Raymond Terrace, students and staff gathered together in the school hall for their annual ANZAC Day liturgy. An invitation was extended to politicians, RSL personnel and members of the wider community to attend.

“Our ANZAC Day liturgy is an annual highlight of the school year,” said Principal, David Palmer.

“It gives the school community an opportunity to reflect and acknowledge past and present service men and women. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge the many families at St Brigid's who are currently serving in the armed forces.”

Students of St Joseph’s Primary School, Gloucester, spent the morning of the 25th marching in the annual ANZAC Day March. The following day, the school community gathered for a special ceremony, taking a moment of silence to remember the soldiers who fought for our country.

“On ANZAC Day, we learn about the importance of the ANZACs, why they fought for us and what they did for us. We show respect for all the soldiers who died for us to keep us safe,” said one student.

St Aloysius Catholic Primary School, Chisholm, was invited to march proudly as a school to support the Morpeth ANZAC Day commemoration. Students were reminded of the ideas of pride, patriotism and sacrifice as student representatives presented a reading at the service on behalf of the school. 

On 27 April, the whole school community of St Joseph’s Primary School, Taree and invited guests gathered for the annual ANZAC Day service around the Peace Garden and Commemorative Mural. Year 6 students organised the service with the assistance of Mr Darcy Elbourne from the RSL sub-branch.

Across the road, students of St Clare’s High School, Taree, turned out in big numbers to march on ANZAC Day. They also held a special school assembly welcoming members of the local RSL.

All ANZAC Day services were well attended by staff and student representatives who joined thousands of others to reflect and remember the spirit of the ANZACs.

St Joseph’s Primary School Gloucester photos courtesy of The Gloucester Advocate.

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Gabrielle Sutherland

Gabrielle Sutherland is a Marketing & Communications Officer for the Catholic Schools Office and a regular contributor to and Aurora.