Schools from as far south as Palmerston will be attending the World War 1 commemoration in Oamaru today.
Waitaki Boys’ High School, Waitaki Girls’ High School, St Kevin’s College and East Otago High School will all be in attendance to pay their respects to former pupils who served in the war.
Waitaki Boys’ High School will be represented by its 16 year 13 pupils. During World War 1, about 700 Waitaki old boys served, 18 of whom died.
Waitaki Boys’ senior master Ken McCallum said the service held special significance for the school.
“We had 118 men die at the war and being involved with this service was a certainty. It’s a big occasion for the school.”
As well as the Hall of Memories, there is also the Memorial Carin and 118 trees have been planted along the fields out the front of the school to remember the fallen.
St Kevin’s College will be represented by senior management, prefects, and school leaders and will hold a minute’s silence later in the week.
East Otago High School representatives will make their way up from Palmerston, with two pupils and principal Lennox Sharp attending.
“We will also hold a ceremony at the school to remember everyone who attended the war,” Mr Sharp said.
Waitaki Girls’ High School will also take part, with its 17 school leaders and principal Mrs Tracey Walker attending the commemoration.
Two Waitaki Girls’ pupils, Abigail Ferguson and Iri Smith, have been asked to lead the national anthem.
“I was asked by RSA president Ian McKay if two of our girls have been asked to lead the anthem, which is awesome, and we are going to hold an assembly to look back over it in more detail,” Mrs Walker said.
Two former Waitaki Girls’ High School pupils worked as nurses in the war. Isabel Clark died in the Marquette tragedy, while Mary Beswick managed to survive the blast, swimming for 24 hours before being rescued.
Maheno School will raise its New Zealand flag to remember all those who served in the war.
The ceremony will be held at the war monument in lower Thames St, outside the council building, at 11am.
By BRAYDEN LINDSAY
PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY
REMEMBERING THE FALLEN: Waitaki Boys’ High School senior master Ken McCallum looks at the school’s Memorial Cairn which bears the names of 118 old boys who died in World War 1.