Lake Macquarie High School's Pearl Harbour commemorative project recognised on world stage

Curious minds: The team of students that took part in the documentary project as part of commemorations for the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Curious minds: The team of students that took part in the documentary project as part of commemorations for the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

A Lake Macquarie High School student will be Australia’s only young ambassador at a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii next month.

Millicent Sarginson will spend a week in Pearl Harbor, where she will be joined by a student from the USA and a student from Japan in addressing ambassadors and military officials aboard the ship USS Missouri.

The journey is part of a major project that seven Lake Macquarie High year 10 students have been working on since April, to research and produce documentaries on the theme of war and peace in the Pacific.

Students at the schools that took part could nominate an ambassador to be Australia’s representative in Hawaii – and Miss Sarginson was chosen.

She will deliver a speech and present the four documentary pieces to the dignitaries aboard the famous battleship.

“There was a propaganda piece, the actual documentary, an advertisement piece and one talking about the Japanese side of the war,” Miss Sarginson said.

“[The journey will involve] going and visiting key sites from World War II.”

Steve Tredinnick, the teacher who led the project, said the task challenged Miss Sarginson and her teammates Beccie Williams, Kayla Fennell, Chloe Snowden, Danielle Orchard, Teghan O’Beirne and Emma Connelly, to look at history from different perspectives.

The group’s area of study began as the Coral Sea but moved to the Japanese infiltration of Sydney Harbour and the shelling of submarines off Newcastle.

They interviewed people who experienced wartime and researched newspaper archives to understand the context of the war in the Pacific.

“In the end, there was a lot of work that the girls had to do with the project,” Mr Tredinnick said.

“That became too big for a number of schools in Australia that were given separate areas [of study]. There was only two schools in Australia that completed the task, in the end.

“From that, Millie was chosen to go to Pearl Harbor.”

Schools from Japan and the USA have also taken part in the project. While a promotional video has been made available, the final products are being kept under wraps until an official launch early next term.