EU Reporter has just announced the results of the first edition of a new, annual Young Journalism Award in collaboration with the British School of Brussels.
As a former pupil at the school, it has been a great pleasure to keep the connection going and offer the current students in years 11-13 (ages 16-18) an opportunity to practice their writing skills and make an addition to their CV’s as many look towards applying for university.
The competition involved writing a short essay of up to 1,000 words, responding to a set question. The question is left quite open to allow plenty of room for the students to get creative and approach it from their own unique perspectives.
The entries were to be judged by members of the EU Reporter team: Senior Journalist Catherine Feore; Editor-in-chief, Colin Stevens; and myself, Development Executive Tori Macdonald.
For the first edition, we began with quite a generic yet complex enquiry for the students, posing, “What being at an International School means to me” as the task for completion.
I was sure that the subjective nature of this question would bring in a variety of interpretations and as a lifelong expatriate myself, I was looking forward to seeing how each applicant’s stories compared to my own; everyone ultimately sharing this unique type of schooling experience.
Much to our delight, we received an impressive number of entries, each piece filled with enthusiasm, personality and an array of well-developed points, justifying their individual experiences as international students. A truly wonderful response for the first edition of this competition.
As one of the judges, I was astounded by the standard of language and essay structuring skills of the students, making my job very difficult indeed! I was sure that I hadn’t even been aware of some of the vocabulary used when I was their age!
However, there could only be three finalists and ultimately, one winner.
The individuals who made the top 3 positions were chosen following immaculate spelling and grammar; clear and concise essay structuring; balanced arguments, and above all, the most unique perspectives on the situation as there were a couple of highly common reoccurring themes.
Segments from the entries of the winner, second place and runner up are as follows, click on their names to view the full articles.
WINNER – Grace Roberts:
What made Grace the winner was her beautiful storytelling, truly tugging on the heartstrings of each of the judges. Furthermore, exceptional literary skills, wonderful incorporation of an analogy and rhetorical question, and all the while, a well evaluated and balanced set of reasons.
“I could be who I wanted to be without anyone knowing me prior to arriving. I could wear what I wanted; I could do my hair the way I wanted. I could be me. Of course, there were the few judgements from people as there always will be, but it was okay because I was happy and fine being me. I found a stable support system: friends who cared for me, teachers who gave me help when I needed it, a school system that strived itself on kindness and positivity.”
HIGHLY COMMENDED – Maxime Tanghe:
Maxime displayed a very impressive variety of vocabulary, starting off with a very strong introduction. He developed a wonderful focus around mindset and made intelligent critiques. Maxime also made a nice use of quotes to add depth to his points.
“The word “international” portrays to me a harmonization in beliefs and cultures. It requires a significant amount of respect and ethicality, which should be at the utmost importance for our modernizing society. Being a student at an international school has radically changed my perspective on not only myself and my perception of humanity, but it has also directly affected the way I value and treat others.”
FINALIST – Adam Pickard:
Adam also incorporated an advanced use of vocabulary along with well-developed explanations and sentence structuring. His interesting conclusions created a very unique angle on the situation which was refreshing as a contrast against the majority of highly positive articles.
“But in the bizarre multi-ethnic landscape of the international school, out of your natural environment, sharing a nationality with any given student was uncommon at most. With so many people from so many different places, one tended to look for those with a shared experience, for a topic of conversation if for nothing else.”
A big congratulations to Grace, Maxime and Adam on their exceptional pieces and compliments to all the students that entered. An absolutely outstanding level of journalism amongst these young students, and no doubt very impressive futures ahead of each one of them.