Pupils tell tall tales of city’s creation as they dream up new legends

LINE-UP Portsmouth Grammar School pupils with second right teacher Emman Kirby and author Geraldine McCraughrean, left.
LINE-UP Portsmouth Grammar School pupils with second right teacher Emman Kirby and author Geraldine McCraughrean, left.
Lee Hider with his work at the exhibition

Students snap their take on city life for exhibition

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PORTSEA Island grew out of the goddess of love Aphrodite’s kidney when it fell to planet Earth after she was accidentally wounded by heavenly rivals Zeus and Phaethon.

Having said that, the city may have been created by a love-struck god for a beautiful mermaid he fell in love with.

Imaginations were on fire when seven talented groups of Year 8 pupils at Portsmouth Grammar School competed against each other to produce their own myths and legends about the founding of Portsmouth.

The Creation Myths Challenge, now in its second year, displayed a wealth of literary and artistic talent as 12 and 13-year-olds brought their stories to life in front of a panel of judges including multi-award-winning author Geraldine McCaughrean.

It was a close call but the winning team were Ella Davis, Noah Darlington, Tom Minall and Stephanie Choi whose ‘battle of life and death’ production included mime and poetry.

Ella, 12, said: ‘I’m so pleased we won. I helped write the script which was quite complex and took so long we only had two days to rehearse.’

Noah, 12, added: ‘This challenge was great because it stretched our imaginations and made us think of different ways to represent an idea, like poetry for the battle scene.’

Runners-up Harry Arnold, James Duff, Sam Messenger and Ben Stainton were applauded for making a comical film depicting two competitive sons of a deceased king who split up the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth.

Ben, 13, who thought up of the plot, said: ‘We really enjoyed making a video which helped link up all the elements of the story.’

Geraldine McCaughrean, best known for writing the official sequel to Peter Pan, applauded the school for setting a challenge that ‘breaks out of the school curriculum’.

She said: ‘I’m delighted these children are so conversant in myth. Some of the ideas presented were so individual and imaginative and showed there are many ways of telling a story.’

James Priory, headteacher and fellow judge, said: ‘I’ve been amazed by the pupils’ creativity and the sophistication of their stories.’


Education reporter