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Student wins prestigious poetry prize

Southern Cross Catholic College Principal Brett Horton congratulates student
Heidi Leeman on her Somerset National Poetry Prize

SOUTHERN Cross Catholic College, Scarborough, student Heidi Leeman beat thousands of budding young poets to win one of Australia’s most noted youth literary prizes.

The Year 10 student was pitted against six other shortlisted finalists from New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania in the prestigious Somerset National Poetry Prize.

To her surprise, the first timer’s poem, Giving but not Loving, took top honours in the Junior Category.

Part of the 2018 Celebration of Literature, the three-day writing festival on the Gold Coast, which has been running for 25 years, encourages a love of writing poetry amongst secondary school students, affirming it as a worthwhile literary pursuit and stimulates excellence in writing.

Heidi said although she loved writing and reading poetry at first she was hesitant to take part in the competition.

However, the college’s Potential Plus Facilitator Lorraine Powers encouraged Heidi to enter her work.

“We saw the potential in Heidi and we urged her to participate,” Mrs Powers said.

Heidi said she thought that maybe others would enjoy poetry as much as she did if she shared her passion.

She said it felt unreal when her name was announced as the winner.

“It felt surreal, and there were a lot of tears,” she said.

“To be recognised and commended on such a prestigious level for just doing what I love is the best feeling in the world.” 

She said taking part in the festival had given her a lot of confidence to keep writing poetry.

“I learnt that I need to keep writing, even when I think I’m not good enough.

“All the writers at the Celebration of Literature really encouraged us to just always keep writing, practising and eventually, perfecting.”

“I would recommend entering this event, and any others like this that are presented to students such as myself.

“Even if you enter it just to say you tried, like I originally did in this competition, you might be surprised in what you get out of it, whether that be winnings or simply experiences."

Mrs Powers said the whole Southern Cross Catholic College community was very proud of Heidi’s achievement.

“It was an amazing feat to be shortlisted.

“However, to win such a respected and significant award in the literary world is outstanding,” she said.

Brisbane Catholic Education Office

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