Eastwood pupils share messages of friendship for Stephen Lawrence Day
Pupils at an Eastwood primary school learned to celebrate each others’ differences yesterday as they discovered the tragic story of Stephen Lawrence.
Schoolchildren at the Florence Nightingale Academy in Chewton Street took part in various activities in support of Stephen Lawrence Day (Thursday, April 22).
The annual day remembers the tragic story of the teen, who was murdered in an unprovoked racist attack in 1993.
His death sparked a movement for change and the day offers an opportunity for children and young people to have their voices heard, discuss the changes they’d like to see and help create a society that treats everyone with fairness and respect.
Pupils at the Eastwood school learned all about Stephen’s story and discussed the importance of embracing equality by celebrating their individual appearances, personalities and talents.
All of the students paid 50p to come dressed in non-uniform to raise money for the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation and to express their unique identity.
Assistant head teacher Michelle Chauhan said: “We wanted to highlight how important it is to them that they’ve got freedom of expression and that they’re all different with different personalities.”
The children took part in a PSHE lesson based around the devastating story and shared their thoughts and feelings about what happened to Stephen.
Ms Chauhan said: “We adapted the story for the different age groups and all of the children were really sensible and mature about it.
"The children also explored their own cultural identities and histories.
"It’s really positive for the local community to be able to have these open discussions."
Later, the children all painted their own pebbles with inspiring ‘messages of friendship’ highlighting what they’d learned.
The pebbles were painted with sentiments such as ‘be yourself’ and ‘love is the key’.
The decorated rocks will be used to create a giant display within the school grounds.
Ms Chauhan added: "It’s an extremely sad story but the students have all found positive messages within it about everyone being equal and the importance of being kind to others.
"A lot of the children in our school are really supportive of each other so these messages are fantastic.”
To help the school celebrate the day, staff used resources from the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation website, including a live assembly with Stephen’s mum Doreen Lawrence.
Ms Chauhan added: “The resources are fantastic.
"They talk through every aspect of Stephen’s life, his aspirations, and it’s a real focus on inclusion for all.
"The themes coming through are not just about race, but about equality in general and having high aspirations that you can achieve anything you put your mind to.
"I think that really sits well for our community.”
To find out more about the charity, visit stephenlawrenceday.org.