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December 2022

  • Peter Lantos Returns to President Kennedy School

    Published 15/12/22


    President Kennedy School was privileged to welcome Holocaust Survivor Professor Peter Lantos to the school to film a short piece that will be aired on the BBC One Show in late January.  As part of the Echo Eternal Project that the school have been engaged with since 2017, the school was gifted the testimony of Peter that was transcribed from an interview with journalist Natasha Kaplinsky.  

    Peter was transported to Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp as a young child and repeated the journey after retiring from his role leading research in Neuroscience at King’s College. As part of a creative arts piece, supported by the Royal Conservatoire in Birmingham, students created a film that can be seen on YouTube entitled ‘Make the Best out of the Worst’, based on their engagement with Peter's testimony.  
    Please follow link to view
    The school also, as part of a ‘Sharing Pledge’ within the Echo Eternal Project, created an ‘Echo Eternal Curriculum Garden’ in memory and celebration of Peter's testimony and prison number at Bergen-Belsen, 8431.  
    The design and planning of the garden was centred on elements of Peter's testimony, the centrepiece of which is a Cherry tree that Peter remembers in his garden as a child.  

    Hays Education, who sponsored the Echo Eternal Project, gifted the tree to the school and it was planted in the Summer of 2022 by Peter and President Kennedy School Gardener Rob Bromfield.  Rob and Peter have since become friends and correspond regularly, sharing the progress of the garden through the seasons.

    The visit on the 30th November was organised by the book publisher, Scholastic.  Peter wrote his first book, Parallel Lines: A Journey from Childhood to Belsen in 2006.  In January 2023, Peter, in association with Scholastic, is publishing a child's version, 'The Boy who Didn't Want to Die'.  The book describes an extraordinary journey, made by Peter, a boy of five, through war-torn Europe in 1944 and 1945. Peter and his parents set out from a small Hungarian town, travelling through Austria and then Germany together. Along the way, unforgettable images of adventure flash one after another: sleeping in a tent and then under the sky, discovering a disused brick factory, catching butterflies in the meadows - and as Peter realises that this adventure is really a nightmare - watching bombs falling from the blue sky outside Vienna and learning maths from his mother in Belsen. 
    All this is drawn against a background of terror, starvation, infection and, inevitably, death, before Peter and his mother can return home.  

    On his visit to President Kennedy School, Peter read to Year 7 students and answered questions.  He was then reunited with Lily Marsden and Erin Ford from Year 12, who participated in the original project when they were in Year 8 and met Peter in the summer.  Peter then chatted with Rob and toured the garden, all filmed for the BBC One Show.  
    The date when the film will be aired will be communicated with the school community once confirmed by the BBC, however, it is intended that this will be on Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday 27th January 2023.  Watch this space.......!                                                                      
                                                                             Mr Mort, Director Futures Teaching Alliance


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  • Senior Citizens Christmas Lunch

    Published 15/12/22

    Our annual senior citizens Christmas lunch took place on Wednesday 14th December. It was attended by over 50 senior citizens from care homes in the community.
    They enjoyed a fabulous Christmas meal and were entertained by our school choir as well as playing Bingo.
    The event was hosted by our head students and the Year 9 council, all of whom did a fabulous job.
    Such a lovely afternoon! 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mr Finlayson, Leader of Enrichment

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  • Students Help Out with the Samaritans Shoe Box Appeal

    Published 12/12/22

    Year 9 and 10 students decorated shoe boxes and took them to dedicated centre to support the Samaritans Shoe Box appeal. 

    When they arrived, they checked shoe boxes that were packed with various items. Next, they had to label the boxes, boy or girl, dependant on the contents. Another group packed the larger boxes and had to label and number how many boxes there were. Students had to quality assure everything that was being sent to children who were less fortunate that would receive a gift box for Christmas. 

    A lorry went to Bosnia the previous day and another one was due to go out to families in Ukraine. 
    The students worked hard and enjoyed the experience and would definitely do this again. 

    Miss Kirkam and Ms Sandhar

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  • Harvard University Research on the Teaching of the Holocaust

    Published 12/12/22

    On his first Thanksgiving Day in the USA, former student Zak Adams interviewed a number of current President Kennedy School students for his initial research project as a Harvard University student. Although he is set to Major in Mathematics at Harvard, in his induction Zak has opted to research a topic close to his heart in the way that schools teach the Holocaust with greatest success.

    In a two-hour Zoom call led by Zak, he listened carefully to the experiences and feelings of students in Years 8,9,10 and 12, prompting them with engaging questions about what they have learnt and the way they have learned it. 
    There was, of course, an ice-breaker session to begin with as our students grilled Zak on what it is like to be a student in the USA. He opened a new set of possibilities for his younger audience, proving that there really is life, not only outside of Coventry, but beyond the ocean. He is simply loving life in Massachusetts, working with people from all around the globe and getting seriously hooked on American football. He also reported on the build- up to the England v USA World Cup fixture.
    Our students spoke candidly about their experiences of learning about the Holocaust. For some of the members of the group, this included meeting Peter Lantos, survivor of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, who visited President Kennedy School last academic year. 

    Although much of the interview centered around the value of films and drama on the subject, there was a real consensus that Holocaust education was essential and had to reflect what the victims went through. To Ella Adejinmi inYear 8, it was important that she had been able to see “beyond statistics” about this period of history adding that meeting a survivor was a “privilege” that helped her come to terms with what happened in the 1930s and 40s. Chelsea Omateyo in Year 9, expressed the view that some things in life can be “so large they are almost incomprehensible” and that it was important to be able to ask questions about emotionally difficult subjects. 

    Our Post 16 representatives Erin Ford and Lily Marsden shared their views as older students, reflecting that film and drama could help us “see through the obvious and stereotyped” but commented on the need for “emotional maturity” before a young person can fully benefit. That we should continue to share the testimonies left behind by the millions of victims to give them individuality and personality beyond the names of the camps and the numbers of victims who perished there, remains an ongoing challenge for us as we continue to explore this vital educational theme.

    In return for us providing this interview, Zak will be coming back to President Kennedy School during his winter break in January to talk to Post 16 students about wider options. He has also welcomed emails from the students he interviewed offering support and guidance.
    We hope this connection with Zak and Harvard continues to provide inspirational opportunities for our students. Our thanks go out to Zak and the students who contributed so well- Laxshan Vasikumar, James Colledge, Ilan Thowfeek-Faris, Ella-Adora Adejinmi, Poppy Bailey, Ryker Hourihan, Shanice Taylor, Alicja Hemperek, Deborah Fofie, Chelsea Omoteyo, Hannah Richards, Aisha Malik, Inaya Rafiq, Erin Ford, Lily Marsden.

                         Mr Finney, Teacher of History

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  • Ice Dangers

    Published 12/12/22

    Ice Dangers

    Many aren’t aware of the dangers of frozen water; it may look solid from the surface but will not hold your weight and could crack when stood on meaning that you become trapped under the ice. The Royal Life Saving Society UK has devised these safety tips about the dangers of frozen waters.


    When water is frozen and the cold weather sets in these are a few safety tips to take note of:

    1. Teach children not to go on to frozen lakes, ponds, canals and reservoirs under any circumstances. Children and pets are particularly at risk when tempted to play on the ice formed on open water during cold weather.
    2. Pets should be kept on leads when near frozen water and owners should refrain from throwing objects onto ice for them to retrieve.
    3. Bystanders should shout reassurance to casualties without endangering themselves. Make sure help is on the way by phoning the emergency services (call 999 or 112).
    4. Do not walk or climb onto the ice to attempt a rescue and certainly don’t get into the water, you may become the next casualty.
    5. If someone can’t climb out of the water, it is not advisable, as many people think, to move about in the water to keep warm while waiting for help. Instead they should conserve their energy by keeping as still as possible.

    If you see someone fall through the ice:

    1. Shout for assistance; get help also by phoning the emergency services (call 999 or 112).
    2. Do not walk or climb onto the ice to attempt a rescue.
    3. Shout to the casualty to ‘keep still’ and offer reassurance to keep them calm.
    4. Try and reach them from the bank using a rope, pole, tree branch, clothing tied together or anything else which can extend your reach.
    5. When reaching from the bank, lie down to avoid being pulled onto the ice – this spreads your weight more evenly.
    6. If you cannot reach them, slide something which floats, such as a plastic bottle or football, across the ice for them to hold onto to stay afloat whilst help is on the way.
    7. If the casualty is too far away, do not attempt to rescue them. Wait for the emergency services while calming and reassuring the casualty.


    Coventry Safeguarding Children Partnership & Coventry Safeguarding Adults Board

    Tel: 024 7697 8387

    Follow us on Twitter at



    Coventry City Council:


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  • President Kennedy School Celebrates First Ever Pan African Culture Festival!

    Published 08/12/22

    On Wednesday 23rd November 2022, President Kennedy School hosted its first ever Pan African Culture Festival.

    The event was a showcase of the best of Black British, Caribbean and African culture with regards to fashion, music, dance, art and food.

    The Festival was the brainchild of the Fabulous Club, a group dedicated to celebrating the school’s cultural diversity, when they were asked how they would most like to celebrate Black History Month.

    After a warm welcome from our MCs Deja Bailey and Hannah Richards, the evening kicked off with a fashion show in which our models represented their nations of heritage with their traditional garments and flags.

    Our models were: Cordelia Akata, Zuriel Assafuah, Cheryl Bortey, Jeremiah Cudjoe, Rosemary Cudjoe, Fadil Dabre, Vanessa Danso, Deborah Fofie, Gillian Forkuoh, Afia Frimpong, Michelle Kirk-Asante, Fares Mudhai, Arnold Ofori, Constance Nwokeocha, Anna-Rachel Quayson, Shanice Rogers and Shante Rogers.

    At the interval, our guests, performers and volunteers had the opportunity to taste some divine West African food provided by the Nigerian restaurant AGG on Far Gosford Street. 
    The array of dishes included: Jollof, Fried Rice, Egusi Soup, Pounded Yam, Chicken Drumsticks, Suya (Beef), Turkey wings, Samosas, Pies, Fried Prawns, Puff Puff balls.

    The second act included beautiful solo singing performances by Amina Sharmarkey with 'I choose you' and Cordelia Akata with 'Scars to your beautiful'.

    Dave’s iconic and symbolic masterpiece ‘Black’ was performed by the duo of Zuriel Assafuah on the drums and Fares Mudhai on the keyboard and vocals.

    Stefania Adoma and Emmanuella Boadi did an Afrobeat dance routine as a duet to the infectious melody and beat of 'On the Low' by Burna Boy.

    An Afrobeat dance troupe from year 8 raised the roof of the building with a scintillating dance routine to ‘Wololo’ by Babes Wodumo featuring Maphintsa.

    Commendations go to: Rosemary Cudjoe, Chanelle Goremucheche, Deborah Fofie, Gillian Forkuoh, Michelle Kirk-Asante, Constance Nwokeocha, Daniella Mensah, Keneth Opoku, Anna-Lee Quayson, Shanice Rogers Shante Rogers and Hannah Wachira.

    Shanice Rogers represented her southern African heritage with a performance of the Zulu song ‘Easy to Love’ by Bucie.

    Arguably the stand out performer of the night was Fabulous Student Lead, David Samura, who sang four different pieces. His first was a solo rendition of ‘All to me’. He and his fellow Fabulous Student Lead Emanuela Brown sang a duet of the soulful ‘Best Part’ by Daniel Caesar featuring H.E.R.

    David’s church choir graced us with their presence and angelic voices. The first of their performances was ‘Killing Me Softly With His Song’.

    The climax was 'Stand Up' from the film ‘Harriet’, a biopic about African American former slave and hero Harriet Tubman. 
    This was performed by David and his choir, and their rousing performance received a rapturous standing ovation from the audience.

    At the end, the performers, who had put in such hard work were able to celebrate by dancing to some contemporary rhythms.

    This truly was a World Class event for students, parents and staff, to learn experientially about other cultures.

    We are fortunate at President Kennedy School that we have such a diverse Black community with students hailing from countries including Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, St Lucia, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Congo, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

    This might just be the start of a new tradition at our outstanding school.  
                                                                                Team Fabulous

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December 2022