The History Department, at the request of Year 9 pupils, launched an essay competition for Lower School and Year 9 pupils. Pupils were allowed to choose their own title and topic, and undertook their own independent research prior to writing their essays. They were restricted to a 2,000 word limit, but otherwise they were given free rein over how to research and approach the task.
The essays submitted this year were:
‘The Conversion to Christianity of Britain and Ireland’ : Kilian M
‘How did the Romans conquer Britain and hold it for over 300 years?’ : Krill N
‘The Dramatic Events of the Reign of Mary I’ : Stephanie G
Joshua Rogers – ‘What were the four most important turning points in the defeat of Germany in WWII?’
‘Henry VIII’s Reformation – why he broke with Rome: The Truth’ : Matt B
‘The Presidency of John Fitzgerald Kennedy’ : Joseph T
‘Who was to blame for the conflict between Henry II and Thomas Becket?’ : Joseph G
‘Joseph Stalin’s control of the USSR’ : Clara B
‘The Fall of the Roman Empire’ : James R
‘Why did Edward I manage to conquer Wales but have less success in Scotland?’ : Ceri E
‘Why did the Spanish Armada of 1588 fail?’ : George S
‘How significant was the Special Operations Executive’s (SOE) Contribution to Operation Overlord?’ : Jonathan C
‘Winston Churchill – ‘Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat’’ : Nathan C
Four prizes were awarded altogether. Each winner received a £20 book token to spend on books to further their interest. Some notes from the winners are given below along with copies of the winning essays attached.
Joseph T (Year 8) – I chose to research JFK because in 2013 it was the 50th anniversary of his death. Also, before the competition opened, I had been on a 3-week holiday to America. The holiday was great and I wanted to learn more about American history and politics, so I thought this would be the perfect essay to write. For research I tried to use a variety of websites and to use ones that were more focussed specifically on JFK like www.jfklibrary.org. I also didn’t want the essay to just be writing, so I made a separate sheet of pictures. I really enjoyed studying more modern material and want to learn more about recent politics and history.
Clara B (Year 9) – I chose this topic because I was interested in understanding how a tyrant stays in power in the modern world. In theory it should be impossible. Once the society lost the feudal values and every tyrant started claiming to preside over a democracy and be an equal among equals, inflicting terror and suffering should inevitably result in the removal of the tyrant. It doesn’t. Stalin was without a doubt the most successful as well as the most frightening tyrant of modern times and that was why I wanted to write an essay about him. In order to write this essay, I gathered information from different sources. I read some fascinating books on the subject which I included in the bibliography. I also watched several significant films of the period including Ivan The Terrible. I have enjoyed working on this essay and I feel that I have enriched my overall understanding of modern history.
James R (Year 9) – I really enjoyed entering the History Essay competition this year and found it both interesting to write and research the essay (as I wrote it on a subject I had not previously known much about), but also learnt invaluable skills for later life concerning the research process and the best way to present the culmination of my research. It was an intriguing experience during the time I was putting together my written work, and though it required a commitment of time and effort, it was well worth the strain for the feeling of accomplishment upon producing and submitting my final draft!