in Amiens, high school students work on the memory of workers’ heritage

Of course, it lacked the bustle of the thousand workers, the smoke coming out of the tall chimneys and the thud of the hall of the 500 trades. But, while strolling on the 13 hectare wasteland of the former Cosserat Amiens factory, students from the Edouard-Gand technological high school very quickly perceived the weight of working-class history tucked behind the listed facades of the velvet factory.

It is a real immersion in the industrial past of Amiens for one year these students of the three bac pro streams (personal care services, fashion professions and proximity services local life animation). Kévin Desnoyers, 17 years old, student in 1re and future animator, still can’t believe it. “With the teachers, there are certain projects where I give my presence. There, for the first time in my life, I gave my motivation. »

One of her classmates, Valentine Labelle, 16, confirms: “We knew that this project would not be trivial and I who don’t really like history, I loved it. For a year, we didn’t take history lessons, we lived it for real. It was history, in Amiens. »

Success in bookstores

The short story is that of a 39-year-old literature-history-geography teacher convinced that, in order to interest his students of 1re bac pro, they must be compared to the reality on the ground. In the manner of Professor John Keating of the Circle of Missing Poets, Louis Teyssedou plunged them into the past of the Cosserat factory, an emblematic velvet and cotton factory founded in 1794 in Amiens, and he thus swept with them the chapters on industrialization, industrial pollution, the First World War or the social issue.

“We are proud. Our teacher made us love history ”, says Valentine Labelle, high school student.

Just before the second confinement, the high school students visited the factory and then borrowed around thirty documents from the departmental archives. Handwritten letters of the XIXe century, plans made in pen, black and white photos that tell the story of the male hierarchy facing the workers lined up behind the looms: all this material so far buried has given birth to a book on the working world of the factory in velvet.

Olivia, a pupil of the Edouard-Gand high school.

The book Of Cosserat you will talk, entirely produced by around forty students from the Edouard-Gand technological high school, was exhibited in the window of the largest bookstore in Amiens. The 300 copies sold out in a few days. “We are proud, smiles Valentine Labelle. Our teacher made us love the story. ”

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