The winners of Liverpool Hope University’s ‘Hope Springs Eternal’ school video competition have been announced - with one lucky institution scooping £1,000 to spend on vital resources
The prize was launched in January this year, alongside partners the Joyce Lund Charitable Estate and Merseyside-based Morecrofts Solicitors.
And the idea was for school groups or classes to submit a short video clip, no more than 60 seconds long, demonstrating the theme ‘Hope Springs Eternal’ in whatever creative way they wished.
A prestigious panel of judges included acclaimed screenwriter and novelist Frank Cottrell Boyce - famed for movies like The Railway Man and Millions - as well as comedienne, actress, singer and presenter Pauline Daniels and up-and-coming actor Jamil Abbasi, who recently starred in the musical Rent at the Liverpool Empire Theatre.
The judges also decided on six runner-up prizes of £500 each, again to be spent on school resources.
And having poured over dozens of entries, the judges awarded the top £1,000 prize to an incredible video entry from Chesnut Lodge Specialist School, located in Widnes, Cheshire.
The touching minute-long clip - which you can watch on Hope's YouTube channel - sees children voicing their dreams for post-lockdown life, including riding a ‘dizzying’ roller coaster, enjoying ‘the boom of a speaker at a live show’, returning to gymnastics club, or even the simple feeling of a ‘warm cuddle’.
And the heart-warming words were placed over footage of beautiful collages and drawings, each depicting the friends, family and activities sorely missed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The video was particularly touching for judge Frank, whose parents sadly passed away within a week of each other at the end of June.
Referring to the ‘quiet hope’ of the children’s voices, the 61-year-old said: “They were of course all terrific. At a time when I needed a bit of hope myself, the real hope lay in just how different all of the entries were from each other - from a rap piece to a diary entry to pieces of lovely choreography.
“How could I pick one “best” bloom out of such a diverse bouquet? I decided to look for the one that filled me with the most hope.”
Fellow judge Jamil was in agreement.
He added: “I love the striking and unique artwork involved. The collage work with bright colours really makes it pop. The messages are very clearly delivered and a lot of the activities mentioned give me hope too! I personally can not wait to go on a dizzy rollercoaster as well. I hope to see this artwork in galleries all across the world some day. Excellent work!”
Chesnut Lodge teacher Laura Scott, herself a Hope alumni, said of the win: “The children were very happy and excited, and really enjoyed making the video.
“In terms of the prize money, we are thinking of buying some art supplies, maybe some stuff for our cooking room as well, and some new books for our library."
Fellow Chesnut teacher Geoff Roberts, who also studied Primary Education with Disability Studies at Hope, added: “The competition was really accessible for all age ranges. As soon as we read the criteria, you could see that anyone could have a good go at it, and do it in their own way. And that's what I think we've done. The kids could really get their teeth into it, which was great to see.”
The runners-up prizes were awarded to St Sebastian’s Catholic Primary School and Nursery located in Kensington, Liverpool, Our Lady St Swithin’s Catholic Primary School, Croxteth, Liverpool, Christ the King High School and Sixth Form, Southport, St Andrew the Apostle Catholic Primary School, Halewood, St Anthony Of Padua RC Primary School, Mossley Hill, Liverpool, and Riverside Primary School, Wallasey.
Debbie Ryan, Faculty Programmes Administrator in Hope’s School of Education, said: “We’re so pleased to have had such a fantastic response to this year’s competition. The competition, which reflected the ethos of Liverpool Hope University, was designed to give pupils an opportunity to reconnect through working together on an exciting project and sharing their thoughts on the meaning and importance of hope.
“Feedback from schools has been really positive, with some even engaging with the competition as a school wide project that they embedded into their curriculum.
“Hearing the children’s hopes for the future and seeing how much effort had been put into their entries was a real privilege and very emotional.“
Managing Partner of Morecrofts Solicitors, Alison Lobb, commented: “Engaging with communities has always been something we put at the forefront of our business practice at Morecrofts, and the Hope Springs Eternal competition is an example of how amazing things can happen when people come together.
“Being involved in such a fantastic initiative has been a pleasure. I don’t envy the judges as I am told the entries stood at such a high standard.
“Congratulations to the winning schools on their efforts – let’s continue to keep the spirit of hope alive.”
St Sebastian’s Catholic Primary School (Kensington)
The video showed both teachers and pupils dancing to the Elton John floor-filler I’m Still Standing.
Judge Pauline commented: “I loved the ‘Tik Tok’ influence - but I also loved the fact that they have used everything that has affected us all during the pandemic, including masks, sanitisers and social distancing. The lovely dance together shows us that we are all still standing, and there is hope.”
Our Lady St Swithin’s Catholic Primary School (Croxteth) - Watch the video here.
The delightful video showed a young boy, Archie, going on a lockdown walk with his mum. At the time he was trying to complete as many steps as possible to raise money for charity. At one point, he looks into the camera while chatting to his mum, and says, ‘It’s a beautiful day today’.
Pauline said: “The little boy doing his steps, giving us all hope, and the way he said, ‘It’s a beautiful day’ just filled me with hope, too, and made me smile.”
Christ the King High School and Sixth Form (Southport) - Watch the video here.
This slick effort sees older students reciting a poem, while the video shows youngsters engaged in magazine design, cake-making and piano playing. The famous poem, by Emily Dickinson, reads: “Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all’.
Pauline adds: “They used everything - poetry, music, cake-making, which we have all been doing! These are all positive signs of hope for the future.”
St Andrew the Apostle Catholic Primary School (Halewood)
Here Year 6 pupils both wrote and performed their very own song - complete with a rap - describing how hope is ‘infinite.
Pauline says: “It’s a great song, all about how things are going to be in the future, and it’s so well put together. They’ve written the song, played the music and added rap - and they all really do look as though they believe every word.”
St Anthony Of Padua RC Primary School (Mossley Hill) - Watch the video here.
This brilliant video showed pupils singing and dancing to the uplifting Beatles song Here Comes the Sun, before they strategically lie down on the floor, creating body-shaped letters, to spell out the word ‘HOPE’.
Judge Jamil said: “This is a very simple but effective piece of work. Brilliant choice of song (it’d be difficult to find someone who doesn’t love it) but also even better execution. The crystal clear vocals and polished dance routines really uplifted me every time I watched it. Hopefully we all get to see you on a Broadway stage some day. The students really embodied that feeling of hope!”
Riverside Primary School (Wallasey)
A really cinematic effort, this video takes viewers from the ‘darkest hour’ of the onset of the pandemic to the sight of the amazing children bringing real hope to their community by visiting care homes and dropping-off free school meals to those who need them. It even features one young chap dressed as artist Vincent Van Gogh, complete with a painted-on bright orange beard!
Judge Jamil enthused: “What a cinematic journey this was. In just one minute, they dropped me in a gloomy depth and then took me to a place of joy and positivity. The acting performances in this piece undoubtedly deserve an Oscar. I particularly loved the clip of “Teach Rex” and the Van Gogh tribute. What a good job the students have done at bringing hope to their community! Well done!”