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Pupils make history via project 28 April 2008

Pupils from the south of the Island made history themselves today when they launched an exhibition of their work on the inter-generational Tell Me Project.

The social history project was started last September by Age Concern Isle of Man and the Department of Education. It is designed to motivate older people to record their memories by recounting them to children and to enhance understanding between generations.

Year 9 pupils at Castle Rushen High School and Year 6 pupils at five southern primary schools – Arbory, Ballasalla, Phurt le Moirrey, Rushen and Victoria Road – joined forces to mount an exhibition of their work at the Isle of Man Airport. Southern Schools Tell me launch

Under the guidance of the history department at Castle Rushen and Year 6 teachers, they have conducted interviews with older people, often grandparents, recording them in a variety of formats. Some of the memories feature on the Tell Me Project website – www.thetellmeproject.com/home – and more will be downloaded soon.

The exhibition was launched in the presence of the participating schools’ headteachers, pupils, interviewees and the Tell Me Project’s main sponsors, Axa Isle of Man, and the H & S Davidson Trust. Department of Education Member Eddie Lowey MLC was present, as were members of the Board of Education.

Maria Tomaszewska, Headteacher of Castle Rushen High School, described it as ‘a wonderful project, getting old and young people together and bridging a generational gap that really isn’t there at all’.

Laura Williams, subject team leader for history at the school, said students had enjoyed speaking with residents of Age Concern’s day centre at Southlands, Port Erin, and added that future Year 9 students would return there to continue work on the project.

She said:

‘This project is extremely valuable as it promotes links and allows the young and old to chat, something which seemingly rarely happens in today’s society.’ Southern Schools Tell me launch two

Professor Hugh Davidson said the Tell Me Project benefited students, who were improving their IT skills, older people, who were getting the chance to share their memories, and the community, as generations were brought together. He said remarkable work was going on at other schools across the Island, too, and it was hoped other displays would take place.

Penny Creighton, chief executive officer of Age Concern, said pupils should remember the date of the launch of the display so that when they were interviewed in years to come, they could recall it, just as their elderly relatives had recalled past events for them.

She told them:

‘You have made history.’

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