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Haileybury student pens winning entry for national writing competition

Exploring the power of friendships and the importance of building caring communities have won a Haileybury student top prize in a national writing competition.

NEWS 18 Oct 2023

Jacqueline, a Year 11 student at Haileybury’s City campus, was named both Overall Winner and winner of the Years 11/12 category in the What Matters? competition. The competition is sponsored by the Whitlam Institute at Western Sydney University and is open to Australian students in Years 5 to 12.

The competition is inspired by former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s commitment to involving young people in shaping Australia’s future. It empowers students to express their ideas on issues that are important to them.

Jacqueline’s winning entry, The Behaviour of Light, highlighted the importance of her community and friends in her life.

“I figured that in a world where so many people care about the big issues and want to be a part of change, you can tend to forget what’s happening in your own backyard. I also thought that our outlook on the current state of the world is already so bleak, so I wanted to create something hopeful to share,” Jacqueline says.

“I hope people who read my story take a second to appreciate friends and family around them. I know that a lot of people my age are feeling pretty hopeless about the state of the world, so I hope my story is a moment of comfort”
Jacqueline (Year 11)

“There are pressing global issues that we all need to face together, but sometimes we need to take a step back to breathe and to remember the people around us who support and comfort us and who, ultimately, are beside us when we are strong enough to fight for the things we care about.”

English has been one of Jacqueline’s strongest subjects during her time at Haileybury and they particularly enjoy creative writing.

“Haileybury has taught me a lot about how to write effectively and how to assess what makes a piece of writing good,” says Jacqueline.

“I am currently planning on becoming a teacher and I’m aiming to teach Latin or English. Maybe one day I’ll return to Haileybury as a newly hired teacher!”

Jacqueline received a $1,500 cash prize, trophy and a special prize from the Museum of Australian Democracy. Her school library will also receive a selection of books.