This year has been a record-breaking year for the Commonwealth Essay Competition. Not only has the competition received in excess of 11,000 entries, but over 70 judges have been involved in the judging process and the standard of entries has been excellent.
As the competition celebrates its 130th anniversary, it is evident that the competition remains an important means of expression for young people across the Commonwealth, as over 830 schools across 55 Commonwealth countries and territories participated.
For 2013 the theme of the competition was 'Opportunity through Enterprise'. The judges were impressed at the creativity and research that entrants displayed in approaching the topics.
As ever, there was an extremely high standard of entry as participants competed with their peers from every corner of the Commonwealth, so to win an award is a big achievement.
We are delighted to announce that over 2,000 entries won awards, with the top prizes going to New Zealand, Guernsey, Canada and Hong Kong. The judges also selected a number of excellent Gold entries from both the Junior and Senior Categories to receive special commendations.
The top two Prize Winners will be flown to London for a special awards ceremony in the autumn and the Runners-Up will be invited to local awards ceremonies.
All Gold, Silver and Bronze winners will receive certificates before the end of 2013 and entrants who didn't receive an award this year are entitled to certificates of participation.
Congratulations to all winners and thank you to the Commonwealth Essay Competition 2013 sponsors Cambridge University Press for their support in this record-breaking year!
Senior Prize Winner
Katherine McIndoe, 19 years old, New Zealand
Click here to read Katherine's entry.
"You can really hear Katherine's voice in this entry. It is well researched and structured and elicits a strong emotional response from the reader. Katherine takes a powerful idea and makes it accessible. Whilst keeping a dual focus on the girls she is addressing (the entry is called "A letter to the lost girls") and her reader, Katherine holds the tension of this throughout with clarity and skill. It is really impressive to write like this when still so young!" Senior Judging Panel 2013
Abby Wells, 16 years old, Canada
Click here to read Abby's entry.
"Abby's essay is a genuine, personal entry offering an original approach to the topic 'Are we too risk-conscious these days?'. The structure and focus which Abby maintains throughout is a skilful, smart and sophisticated treatment of childhood. The writing has a simplicity in the way it deals with a complex subject and it displays a light touch. This was a very serious contender for the first prize." Senior Judging Panel 2013
Junior Prize Winner
Tabitha Carr, 12 years old, Guernsey
Click here to read Tabitha's entry.
"Tabitha's entry is authentic, poignant and moving. The Panel particularly liked the concise use of language and the telling images. There are no superflous words. Tabitha takes the reader on a journey into another world and leaves them wanting to read her story again and again. She demonstrates social awareness and confidence in what she writes. The opening and concluding paragraphs very simply and effectively locate the story in relation to the topic "Is change a good thing?" The Panel wondered what it would be like to hear the story performed or read aloud and they wondered where the name "Silverfox" came from!" Junior Judging Panel 2013
Catherine Yu, 9 years old, Hong Kong
Click here to read Catherine's entry.
"Catherine's entry is an extraordinary approach to the topic "Is change a good thing?" which satisfyingly turns full circle in its description of a mountain and the changing seasons. The writing is creative, authentic, poetic, imaginative and witty. The style is concise and sophisticated. It demonstrates emotional depth and attention to texture. The descriptions are excellent. The end result is to leave the reader feeling satisfied and uplifted." Junior Judging Panel 2013
Over 12,300 young people from across the Commonwealth entered the Competition - congratulations to all! This year’s theme invited young people to reflect on the topic of ‘A Commonwealth for Peace’. Judges were impressed by the diverse entries and described the pieces as ‘creative’, ‘hopeful’ and ‘passionate’.
All participants receive a Certificate of Participation for entering the competition and those whose entries were given a Gold, Silver or Bronze Award will have this indicated on their certificate. Certificates can be downloaded as a PDF file from the online platform. Simply enter your reference number in the field labelled ‘Did you win an award in 2017?’ and the certificate will download automatically.
We kindly ask for your patience at times of high-traffic - if the website is unavailable please try again at a later time.
Note: If you entered offline, please include 6_ before your reference number. For example, if your reference number was AB11223333 you will need to enter 6_AB11223333 into the online platform to get your certificate.
Please do get in touch if you have any questions or incur any difficulties with the process.
Annika Turon-Semmens, Hiya Chowdhury, Ariadna Sullivan and Ry Galloway – Winners and Runners-up of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2017.
In recognition of their outstanding achievement, they visited London in November, took part in a week of educational and cultural events and were presented with their certificates by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall at an Awards Ceremony which took place at Buckingham Palace on 21st November.
Listen to the BBC World Service Outlook programme from the Palace
Meet the winners below:
Senior Winner: Annika Turon-Semmens, Adelaide, Australia
Annika, wrote a vivid short story titled ‘Human Nature’ exploring the personal conflict of her character Willem Royle, who lives a trouble life in a world of peace. Annika entered the competition as a student of Pembroke Middle School, is grateful for the opportunity the school provided and honoured to be named the Senior Winner. She enjoys reading, painting, and watching old films, and dreams of travelling the world. Read Annika's entry.
Junior Winner: Ariadna Sullivan, British Colombia, Canada
Ariadna’s thoughtful poem, when read backwards, invites the reader to discover new meanings. Within this creative structure Ariadna presents a hopeful vision of a toolbox for peace. Ariadna is a student at Veritas Catholic School in Terrace, British Columbia, where she is a keen Maths and English student and dreams of attending Cambridge University. Ariadna spends her free time reading, writing, biking and taking care of her pets. She also enjoys playing the piano, the ukulele, and the clarinet. Read Ariadna's entry.
Senior Runner-up: Hiya Chowdhury, Uttar Pradesh, India
Hiya’s vibrant story ‘The Smallest of Things’ brings to life the human experience of partition. Hiya has sensitively captured local and family life which carries on while tensions simmer and peace hangs in the balance. Hiya is pleased to be able to contribute her voice on an issue which matters immensely to her. She lives in New Delhi, India, and is a student at Springdales School. Hiya enjoys reading, singing, listening to music, and spending time with her dog, Naina. Read Hiya's entry.
Junior Runner-up: Ry Galloway, London, United Kingdom
Ry’s short poem beautifully captures her peaceful place with vivid descriptions that bring to life a place of inner peace. Ry is a student at Alleyns Junior School in South London, and lives with her parents, her younger brother Ludo, and her two cats Tibby and Bambo. She enjoys drawing, acting, science experiments, and sports such as trampolining. Ry also loves fashion and collecting everything to do with pineapples. Read Ry's entry.
Disclaimer: The views of the above essays are not necessarily shared or endorsed by The Royal Commonwealth Society or Cambridge University Press.