World War 1 Project

 St. Macartan’s College / Monaghan Collegiate School World War 1 Project.

This project will involve over 20 students and 4 teachers from St. Macartan’s College and Monaghan Collegiate School investigating the involvement of young people from both traditions from the North Monaghan area in the Western Front during World War 1.

The project will involve contact with the Clogher Historical Society, Monaghan Co. Library and Monaghan Co. Museum as well as contact with war museums in Belgium.

Students and teachers from both schools involved will meet on a regular basis to develop the project. This will involve the students studying World War 1 its causes and consequences. After looking at the event on a macro scale the students will study this global event at a local level. This will involve a study of local media from the period to study how the War was reported to Monaghan people at that time. This media is available in the Monaghan Co. Museum.

It is also envisaged that the students will travel together with their teachers to visit sites of historic interest in Belgium during the final term of the 2009 – 10 school year.

The outcome of the students work would include visual presentations as well as the students informing fellow students from their schools about their findings. The visual presentation will include a website and class resources for teachers who may want to teach this topic to classes in the future.

It is hoped that the contacts established in the development and organisation of the project could be used to facilitate other schools in border regions in their organisation of similar projects. This project can also form part of the students Leaving Certificate History examination programme.

The groups involved in this project will include minority communities, young people, parent associations, churches, voluntary and public sector organisations and their staff.

Introduction to the project – This will involve bringing students and teachers from both schools together to introduce the topic. Students will outline their current knowledge about W.W. 1 with a view to teachers ascertaining the extent of this knowledge. From experience teachers know that differences of opinions do exist between students from each school regarding this topic. Many Catholic children still see those who travelled to fight in WW 1 as traitors i.e. fighting for Britain while many Protestant children do not realise that thousands of Catholics fought in the British army during WW 1.

This project will challenge the students to look at WW 1 from another perspective. The project will explore WW 1 from a young persons perspective, endeavouring to discover why young people from both sides of the community left North Monaghan to fight in Belgium. What reasons had they in common e.g. sense of adventure, a job and steady income, fighting for the freedom of small countries etc.

Students and teachers will travel to each others school for this section. This in itself is a peace building tool as students from St. Macartan’s College and Monaghan Collegiate do not have enough opportunities to work together or to visit each others schools.

Introduction to Research – The Clogher Historic Society will be employed to teach the students research skills with an emphasis on the use of materials which are available in local and County Libraries. Students will also be introduced to the resources available at Monaghan Co. Museum. This section of the project will see students travel to the Clogher Historic offices and archive, followed by travel to the Co. Museum, local Libraries and the Co. Library at Clones. The Northern Standard micro film archive at Clones will be invaluable during this section.

  1. Sub-division of the group -Students from both schools will be divided into groups based on where they come from i.e. Monaghan Collegiate students and St. Macartan’s students from Monaghan town will specifically research the names of people from the Monaghan own area who travelled to Belgium to fight between 1914 and 1918. Once again this is an opportunity for students from different religious backgrounds to meet, get to know each other, work together on  a common task and through this build positive relations not only between pupils from different schools but also  between neighbours of different religions.
  1. Further Research –  Students will develop a list of names with a view to developing a database which will show what happened to those who left the North Monaghan area to fight during W.W. 1.   Students will also endeavour to trace what happened to some of those who travelled, post war.
  1. Preparation for the trip to Belgium – Student will come together to plan where they would like to visit during their trip to Belgium. This will be based on the possible burial place of some local people or a battle site where some locals may have fought an / or  fallen.
  1. Trip to Belgium – This will see the students travel together to Belgium to see the war sites selected by themselves during their research. Students and teachers will also visit Messines, the area where the 36th Ulster Division and the 16th Irish Division fought together.
  1. Return and evaluation – This will see the students finalise their presentations, web pages and database using information collected and imagery they may have collected during the research process.

This project will engage young people on a cross community basis. It will promote reconciliation through the promotion of cross community interaction.

The project creates an ideal opportunity for students from the border minority group to interact and work alongside the border majority group on a project which will afford young people an opportunity to challenge and be challenged on their understanding of a shared history.

The students involves will be responsible for driving this project. They will be responsible for organising the visits to the local libraries, museums and tto the Clogher Historic Society offices. This will involve close contact between the schools regarding timetabling, bus hire etc. By taking ownership of the project and making their own decisions via a managing committee and sub committees a strong working relationship camaraderie will be developed.

Students involved in Transition Year projects are familiar with the concept of committee structures and committees making decisions, organising and running events. The sub committees made up of students in equal numbers from each school will help distribute the workload and will at all times be responsible to the group as a whole i.e. the travelling party. An executive committee of a chairperson, secretary and two treasurers (two students from each school) will co-ordinate the work of each sub committee. It will be the students’ responsibility to convene and organise the work of the sub committees. The management committee will be responsible at all times to the teachers involved and t the two principals. A finance sub committee will have an integral an input into the financial management of this project.

The outcome of the project i.e. young people working together, travelling together and presenting together will promote understanding, reconciliation and good relations within the most impressionable members of the community namely through young people.

This project is supported by