National Poetry Day

The Power of Poetry

Choice: the theme of National Poetry Day 2021. And it came as no surprise that Westholme students took this theme and ran, or should I say sprinted, with it. Our students never fail to disappoint with their unique creativity.

Dr Robson, and Head Boy and Head Girl, Ben and Tilly, opened up the poetic floodgates with as assembly that showcased a myriad of different genres of poetry, ending with a humorous rendition of ‘Red Riding Hood’, by Roald Dahl.

Year 7, 8 and 9 students were asked to complete a National Poetry Day Challenge. Taking the theme of ‘Choice’, they were asked to perform a poem of their choice during lunchtime. We are treated to smorgasbord of delights. Year 7, in true Year 7 fashion, produced their own poems and performed poems that explored the importance of choosing to continue, or choosing ‘New beginnings’ – very apt themes on our wonderful Westholme Open Day. In Year 8, we were equally thrilled with the enthusiasm and positivity of our students. 8B, led by our very talented Food Tech teacher Mrs. Hall, chose to write poems about food choices. Their contributions really made us incredibly hungry!

I am delighted to say that Westholme enthusiasm doesn’t wane as our students progress through the school. Year 9 presented the English Department with some very creative poetry presentations. Themes ranged from ‘choice making’ to reflecting on life choices. Also, we were treated to individual contributions from students who produced their own poems. Scarlett Ashcroft-Gardner created a wonderful poem about the importance of having the ‘freedom to choice’. A very poignant sentiment.

Years 10 – 13 were presented with an entirely a different task designed to deepen their poetry appreciation. They were asked to choose a poem that explores the theme of choice and produce a creative response. This highlighted that Westholme students are deep philosophical thinkers. Year 10, with their minds firmly on their GCSEs, were inspired by ‘The Road Not Taken’, the poem of choice for our Commercial Director, Mrs Davenport. 10P and 10B produced roads, crafted from card, paper and footprints that highlighted that choices in life are like roads that can lead you to different destinations. It appeared that many of our industrious Year 10 have been reflecting on important decisions, such as A level choices, careers and what time to go to bed!

But the final mention must go to the most senior members of our school who truly embody the Westholme spirit. Westholme sixth form students never fail to disappoint me and I am constantly inspired by their keenness to get involved. We had raps, beautiful illustrations and artwork entitled ‘Train Choices’ from 6CR. Special mentions must go to 6MGH and 6GM, forms led by our Head of Science and Head of Maths. Our scientists and mathematicians became poets for the day. Mrs McConnon’s form chose a poem by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse entitled ‘The Door’. 6GM took this idea and produced graphic representations about the significance of doors symbolising the importance of choosing the right door in life. Meanwhile, Mr Hiller’s form chose a poem entitled ‘I choose’. The first line provides inspiration for all of our students stating ‘I choose to live by choice, not by chance’. This opening sentiment captures the ethos of many of our students who achieve excellence in so many areas by choosing to participate, choosing to attend clinics and choosing to be exceptional students. This is indeed the power of poetry; a few lines can capture the ethos of an individual.

Finally, I want to finish, by mentioning something that Adam, in 6MGH, found in respond to their poem of choice. He found a short piece about the significance of the shopping trolley; the extract concludes that the shopping trolley is the ‘ultimate litmus test’ arguing that the test of a person’s character is whether they choose to take the trolley back or abandon it in a vacant parking space. Having witnessed all our wonderful contributions on National Poetry Day, I know that all of Westholme students would make the right choice; they are always willing to go the extra mile, even to return the humble shopping trolley!