Tonypandy Community College students have won a series of top awards to mark their successful World War I App which remembers those Rhondda heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Students claimed three top history awards for their innovative project which took two years to complete and was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Headteacher Nathan Prygodzicz said: “We are overjoyed that our Rhondda Remembers World War I App has been recognised by our peers in this way which adds further kudos to what we all agree is a first-class history resource.
“Students and staff worked incredibly hard to produce to create this marvellous App, which tells the “Rhondda Story” through the voices of its communities, families, schools, memorials, industry and entertainment.”
Students received the £150.00 Rhondda Rotary Club Prize in the John Hopla Society Local History Awards which is dedicated to the prominent miners’ leader and recognises efforts of pupils in charting historic events.
Held at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council chambers in Clydach Vale, Tonypandy students were congratulated for their efforts by Mayor Cllr Margaret Tegg on receiving the award. It is the first time the John Hopla Society Committee have decided to reward the work of a secondary school and Tonypandy College is the first proud recipient
Within a week the students travelled to Carmarthen to attend the Welsh Heritage Schools Initiative which is judged by esteemed historian Catrin Stevens. The Wales-wide award attracts hundreds of entries every year.
Tonypandy College’s project was judged the best overall in the Secondary Category against 15 other comprehensive schools from throughout Wales.
Students Elysia Evans, Thomas England and Rafe Wotton received the £750.00 Moondance Foundation Prize on behalf of the College.
But they were in for another surprise when it was announced that they had also won the St Fagan’s National History Museum Shield in the Best Entry Category, presented by Nia Williams
The App was launched earlier this year at the College by Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education at the Welsh Government.
More than 500 students – including feeder primary schools – were involved in various projects to produce an app for both ipads and Android tablets after collating resources, historical documents and investigations into the gallant heroes of the Mid Rhondda.
The project saw them research many aspects of the Great War, including the memorials, stories of the fallen heroes and the effect on industry, entertainment, health, food supply and the role of women.
Students carried out their research in local libraries, Glamorgan Record Office and the Firing Line Museum of the Welsh Soldier in Cardiff Castle.
A large group visited Belgium and France to pay tribute at the war cemeteries and memorials of Ypres and Mametz Wood where many members of the Rhondda Battalions are remembered. It was also an opportunity for one student to become the first member of his family to visit the grave of his great-great-grandfather who fell in battle.
The App features an interactive war memorial, propaganda, images and information which tell an important story about the sacrifices made by Rhondda families. It also features music and songs written and performed by students, along with rousing speeches of the period and even the gossiping Rhondda “mams” fighting for the right to vote.