Pupils' domino helps Berlin Wall rise and fall again

30th October 2009 at 00:00
Germany honours UK school in art project to mark end of Cold War

At first glance, Chosen Hill School, a secondary in Gloucestershire, does not appear to have much to link it with the events 20 years ago that culminated in the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.

Yet art pupils at the comprehensive have been selected to take part in a worldwide project - alongside the likes of Nelson Mandela's family - to mark the 20th anniversary of the end of the Cold War.

The students are decorating a 2.8m-high Styrofoam slab that will form part of a two-kilometre line of dominos along an area that once separated East and West Berlin. More than 1,000 dominos will be knocked down on November 9 as the centrepiece of the celebrations to mark the end of the division of the city.

The Chosen Hill School domino is one of just 20 sent beyond Germany's borders to be decorated. By involving many different countries, the organisers hope to educate youngsters on what the wall symbolised.

The Styrofoam wall will stand for two days before it is toppled in an event to be attended by leading politicians such as Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and Nelson Mandela.

Peter Jeffrey, Chosen Hill's deputy head, said: "Our students are very proud to have taken part. It is a remarkable achievement to have been selected to represent the UK in this way."

The school was picked after officials in Berlin approached the European Parliament, which liaised with Gloucestershire International Education Office, with the help of a London representative. The art department integrated the design of the domino into the GCSE curriculum for Year 10 students.

Ken Joshua, Chosen Hill's community links co-ordinator, said: "We are privileged to be a part of this event. It is partly recognition for the international work we have been doing since 1994.

"The school has worked with Indonesia, Romania and Poland, to name a few. We have recently set up video-conference links with schools in New York, too."

The school hopes its participation in the Domino Project will contribute to it once again winning the British Council's DCSF International School Award, which it has picked up for the past six years.

"The brick looks fantastic," said Mr Joshua. "The UK is a small island, yet part of the big, wide world, and it is important that the world comes into our classrooms."

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