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Lest we forget: Remembering service and sacrifice

The department has paused to remember the service of former students, teachers and all Australians in two moving Anzac Day ceremonies.

Four students carry a floral wreath.

Students from Glossodia Public School lay a wreath at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park.

Students from schools across the state assembled in Hyde Park to pay their respects to the fallen as part of the annual RSL and Schools Remember Anzac Commemoration Service in the last week of Term 1.

The Service has been an important tradition for NSW schools since 1953, with more than 95 schools attending this year.

Every school across the state was invited to lay a wreath on the Anzac Memorial.

Students representing public, independent and Catholic schools were joined at the event by representatives all three branches of the Australian Defence Force, the Governor of NSW and the event hosts – the President of the NSW RSL, James Brown, and Education Minister Sarah Mitchell.

Remembering teachers who served

James Ruse Agricultural High School cadets

Cadets from James Ruse Agricultural High School form an honour guard at the Anzac Remembrance Service.

This year’s Anzac Day Remembrance Service was held for the first time at the NSW Department of Education’s new office in Parramatta last Thursday.

The Service is held in association with the Teachers’ sub-Branch of the NSW Returned and Services League and was traditionally conducted on Anzac Day at the department’s former state office in Bridge Street, Sydney.

Today’s Service was led by Crestwood High School student, Emily Foufas-Noakes, as Master of Ceremonies, and featured the NSW Public Schools Junior Singers, and the James Ruse Agricultural High School Cadet Unit providing a guard of honour.

Albie Woodhouse from Newtown High School of the Performing Arts sounded The Last Post, which is traditionally played at 9:00pm to inform the soldiers that they should be inside their quarters for the night.

Patrick Medway AM, President of the Teachers’ sub-Branch of the RSL, gave the official welcome and Mark Scott, Secretary of the NSW Department of Education, delivered the keynote address.

Mr Scott spoke of the importance of relocating the department’s Anzac Memorials into the new William Wilkins Gallery in Parramatta and shared a letter from teacher Les Wharton who embarked for World War I with his brother in 1914.

“It is an honour and a sacred duty the department has as keeper of the Memorials in our new building at Parramatta,” Mr Scott said.

“It was a sacred duty to move them safely to our new home in Parramatta where we can reflect and remember the sacrifice every day we work in this building.”

There are currently four department World War I Memorials, four World War II Memorials and a Roll of Honour recognising those who served in the Vietnam War and other post-World War II operations. A Book of Remembrance records the names of soldier-teachers who served in World War I and World War II.

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