A reflective monologue from Year 10 The Armidale School student Stella Maroulis that urges readers to consider others, has been awarded a major prize in the national ‘What Matters?’ writing competition, run by the Whitlam Institute at Western Sydney University.
Inspired by Gough Whitlam’s commitment to involving young people in shaping Australia’s future, the What Matters? writing competition is open to school students in years 5 to 12 from Australia. Responding to the simple question ‘what matters?’, entrants are free to express their views on any matter they care about.
From hundreds of entries, Stella’s piece ‘The Art of Observation’, named as runner up in the Year 9/10 division of the awards, was hailed by judges for the way it “explored deep and difficult issues from a caring and nuanced perspective”.
Her entry took the form of a student’s observation of a new classmate and the shocking reality of their invisibility after just a term at the school.
“…the art of observation is such an important thing, but has been taken away from the lives of this generation simply because we are too caught up in our own lives to notice the lives of others. To observe, is to truly be at peace – with ourselves and the world.”
Writer Doug Whyte from competition sponsor ReachOutAustralia and Craig Reucassel from television’s The War on Waste’s presented Stella with her award at a special ceremony at Western Sydney University. It is the third time TAS students have achieved outstanding success in his competition, following Sancia Ridgeway being the national winner in 2018 and Stirling Munsie the Year 9/10 runner up in 2020.
As part of her award Stella won $200 and a book pack from Allen and Unwin. This year the competition attracted 4991 entries from 691 schools across Australia.
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