Annual Student Poetry Competition winners showcase a journey through creative language

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

The winning poems in the annual Student Poetry Competition run by Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) were announced today, drawn from close to 600 entries from schools across the state.

Many of the winning poems, totalling more than 100,000 words from students across foundation to year 12, focussed on the optional theme of ‘journeys’.

The judges congratulated the winners on their engaging poems and fresh use of creative language – and thanked all student entrants “for generating slivers of delight into the lives of so many”.

“The joy of discovering often breathtaking poetry has been an enormous thrill,” the judges of the ISV Student Poetry Competition said.

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Winning poets included Grace Sudjono from Harkaway Hills College, who has entered the contest three times and been a prize winner each year.

This year, she was a winner in the year seven-eight category for performance poetry, and recited her poem ‘Journey this Far’, about a journey through the generations.

The judges commented on her confident and calm style that allowed “thoughts to marinate in the minds of the audience”.

Prizes were awarded to seven poems in the performance category, and 14 in the written category.

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Poetry proves popular with budding writers

ISV Chief Executive Michelle Green said this year’s record number of entries confirmed the popularity of poetry among young people.

“It’s further evidence that students embrace the arts when it’s an integral part of the school curriculum,” Ms Green said.

The competition, now in its fourth year and open to students in all schools (Independent, Government and Catholic), is described by ISV as a “highlight of ISV’s arts learning program”, and with performance poetry seeing students willing to take the stage, it’s an indication that poetry may still have a vibrant future.

Foundation – year two: Written poetry winners

  • The Friendship Journey, by Mia Chen -Wesley College
  • Holding On, by Georgia Stuckey – Harkaway Hills College

Years three – four: Written poetry winners

  • Autumn is Come, by Claerwen Watkins – Geelong Grammar
  • Mother, by Mia Healey – Strathcona Girls Grammar School

Performance poetry winners

  • In The Car With Mum, by Mateusz Stankiewicz – Plenty Valley Christian College
  • The Australian Journey, by Naushali Navaratne – Harkaway Hills College

Years five – six: Written poetry winners

  • Little Blue’s Beginning, by Zaid Zuhair – Fitra Community School
  • My Greek BIG Grandfather Who Came from There to Here, by Maverick Lawrence-Politis – Penleigh & Essendon Grammar School
  • Whispers of Childhood, by Scarlette Wong – St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar

Performance poetry winners

  • A Simple Guide to Taking a Successful Journey, by Millie Daniel – Woodleigh School

Years seven – eight: Written poetry winners

  • Online Friends, by Pippa L O’Connor – Ballarat Grammar School
  • Listen to the Music, by Sebastian De Marte – Christian College Geelong

Performance poetry winners

  • The Man on The Steering Wheel, by Aurelia Cabrera – The Knox School
  • A Voice, by Charlie Russo – Woodleigh School
  • Journey Thus Far, by Grace Sudjono – Harkaway Hills College

Years nine – 10: Written poetry winners

  • I’m Confused. Who am I?, by Arooj Bilal – Sirius College
  • What Have We Done?, by Ally Russo – Balcombe Grammar School

Performance poetry winners

  • Wrong My Rights, by Katherine Lam – Presbyterian Ladies’ College Melbourne

Years 11 – 12: Written poetry winners

  • May, by Lotus Das-Hyland – Lauriston Girls’ School
  • The Death of The Sun – Part 2, by Marianna Mossonidis – Penleigh & Essendon Grammar School
  • Ouroboros, by Jasmyn Carr – Penleigh & Essendon Grammar School
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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]