Secondary: Standing Assemblies
By Ronni Lamont
Suitable for Key Stages Three, Four and Five
This assembly helps to encourage the students to support the families of those on active service.
Preparation and materials
- Make a montage of new pictures of people on active service. Be very careful not to include those from the local area. Include those who may be working in the media, posted abroad, as well as those in relief organizations or working for the Foreign Office.
- If you have the appropriate licences, download ‘Peace on Earth’ from the album All That You Can’t Leave Behind by U2. This is an emotive track – use with sensitivity.
- Place one large candle and four or more tea lights in a sand tray, on a heat-proof surface (see below).
- Prepare the readers; you can also ask some or all of them to light the tea lights (see below).
Position the readers in a tableau across the presentation area. Play the music as students enter.
- Reader 1: Hey Jerome, isn’t your brother in the army now? Is he out in (name of current war zone)?
Reader 2: Yeah, Lee’s out there at the moment. We’re not sure where he is though, and he only writes occasionally.
Reader 3: Hi Flick, how’s your Mum doing? Where’s she reporting from this week?
Reader 4: She’s somewhere in (name of current war zone). Dad’s going off his rocker worrying about her, but he doesn’t talk about it. Wish he did – we’re just as worried about her.
Reader 5: Dear Diary,
It’s all very well having a father who volunteers for Medicine Without Borders. Sounds great. But when he’s away, and we think he’s been posted to (name of current war zone), then we all worry about him. Does wearing a red cross mean he’s safe?
Reader 6: Dear Thérèse,
How’s life in the diplomatic corps then? Someone at school said you’re working for MI5, but I told them you’re a peace negotiator – that’s a bit different! I think what you’re doing is great, but Mum seems a bit worried at the moment – could you ring her when you can?
- Leader: We’ve just seen some of the ways in which adults can be involved in working in unsafe areas of the world.
Some are in the army, the air force or the navy, working to restore peace to troubled areas of the world.
Some work as news reporters, always found where news is happening, sometimes at great personal risk.
Others work as volunteers, sharing expertise in medicine, or logistics, in areas where such skills are in short supply.
Others are negotiators, working to bring peace.
All may be risking their lives to bring peace to the world.
Sometimes we find it hard to see how taking aggressive action is peacemaking.
Sometimes we find it hard to see news teams being prepared to risk their lives to bring in their stories, aid workers sticking it out in tough conditions, how diplomats can keep going.
Time for reflection
Project the images.
Light the large candle.
Ask the first student to light a tea light from the large candle and say:
We think of those serving overseas on active service.
Ask the second student to light a tea light from the large candle and say:
We think of those working in news reporting.
Ask the third student to light a tea light from the large candle and say:
We think of those working in the diplomatic corps, negotiating for peace.
Ask the fourth student to light a tea light from the large candle and say:
We think of those volunteers, working to bring relief.
Add any other people relevant to your community who are working in dangerous places around the world.
You might be able to leave the lights burning in a safe place in school.
Pause for a while.
We hold before you our loved ones.
May they know we love them and are thinking of them, despite the distances between us.
Ask the students to leave in silence.