An exhibition on the story of Anne Frank has been designed and staged by students at Lealands High School in Luton.
It was opened by the Mayor of Luton, Cllr Dave Taylor, along with the Mayor of Kearney, Ontario, Canada, Cllr Lance Thrale, a former student at the school.
The exhibition was staged after Lealands were accepted onto the Anne Frank Trust’s Ambassadors programme in March and followed months of hard work and effort by students.
The students had attended workshops on the subject to help deliver information during tours of the exhibition, to other students during lesson time, primary schools and the community.
The exhibition was officially opened on Wednesday, June 24 and ran for two weeks and was visited by hundreds of people.
At the opening, Mayor Thrale gave a speech to Lealands’ history students, about community cohesion and multi-culturalism and was introduced to headteacher John Burridge.
The evening included speeches by head of humanities, Martin Atkinson, on the Lealands’ history department’s on-going legacy with the story of Anne Frank and former student Georgia Marcantonio on how Anne’s story had inspired her and other students.
Visitors were shown a video created by year 10 student, Rudo Markoni, which showed Lealands High School’s recent visit to Amsterdam and some experiences and reflections from students involved in the trip and the programme.
A tour of the exhibition was given, with Lealands year 9 and 10 students being guides for the evening and was followed by refreshments and a chance to talk to the guides.
Year 9 student Karris McGonigle said: “Lealands is extremely pleased to have been given this fantastic opportunity to develop and engage the students. It was evident on the evening that the students had thoroughly enjoyed learning about Anne Frank due to the passion and commitment they had put into delivering her message to others.
“Learning more about Anne Frank and the extremely tough times she had to live through has been a great experience.
“Thinking about how she couldn’t live and grow like a young person has made me stop and think about how lucky I am. Lots of us take our lives and those people in them for granted, but Anne Frank’s diary has made me look at my family and friend with grateful eyes.”
The exhibition was brought to Lealands by the Anne Frank Trust in connection with Luton’s Prevent Team.
Steve Smith, from the Prevent Team, who attended the event, said: “The students who talked us through Anne’s story spoke confidently and displayed in-depth knowledge of Anne’s poignant and important story.
“It was really interesting to watch the short film at the end showing the students’ trip to Anne’s house and the concentration camps. I was really impressed with the production of the film.”
Cllr Dave Taylor said: “It was a pleasure to officially open Lealands High School’s Anne Frank exhibition with the Mayor of Kearney. The exhibition in words and pictures gave a powerful account of a young girls’ struggle to survive oppression.”