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Above: (left to right) Bruce Morcombe, Emilie Muller, Indi Newell, Mia Cloete, Denise Morcombe & Dr Sally Towns with the shirt artwork using the winning students' designs.
An artwork showing the fingers of two hands entwining over a baby chick to protect it from rain is just one of the ways Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) students have illustrated child protection in an art competition.
The creation by Year 10 student Eli Kenzler from St Teresa's College Noosaville has taken out one of four top prizes in the 2022 BCE Student Protection Art Design Competition.
Australian child safety advocates Denise and Bruce Morcombe, founders of the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, led the presentation of awards along with BCE Executive Director Dr Sally Towns at a special Child Protection Week event at BCE's Woolloongabba head office.
Dr Towns said the winning designs would feature on BCE Student Protection Contacts' t-shirts, to raise the profile of the 560 Student Protection Contacts across BCE's 146 schools.
“BCE takes child protection very seriously. It is at the forefront of everything we do," she said.
"More than 340 students took the time to create designs aligned with the Child Protection Week 2022 theme, child protection is everyone's responsibility.
“I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate our Art Competition winners, as well as all entrants whose artworks truly encompassed the importance of Child Protection Week, while also helping to raise the profile of this important week in our school calendar."
Year 4 student Indi Newell from Southern Cross Catholic College Scarborough also took out a prize for her love heart tree design, drawing the branches of a tree to depict hands reaching out to help children.
Meanwhile, Year 12 student Emilie Muller at St Mary's College Ipswich won a prize for her depiction of a child's growth journey as a strong tree with many small and large hands, showing children supported by adults.
The fourth awardee is Year 7 student Bonnie Herron from St Columban's College Caboolture, who created a rainbow-coloured symbol of an adult offering a protective shield over a child.
Runner up in the competition was Year 2 student Mia Cloete from St Joseph's Primary School Nambour whose drawing illustrated a colourful rainbow appearing over children of multiple cultures and the wording, 'we all matter, keep us safe.'
“Self-expression is so important for children and young adults, and this art competition enabled our students to express themselves through art, have their say, and will help raise the profile of our Student Protection Contacts," Dr Towns added.
“Child Protection Week is a reminder that as a society we all need to play a part to ensure children are both nurtured and safe, and adults are essential in ensuring children's safety and well-being.
“Listening to children and young people is the number one indicator in assisting their safety and well-being and we believe all students have the right to expect that the school will always act to protect them from any kind of harm."
Dr Towns said BCE launched a Student Voice program in 2017, providing students the opportunity to speak about matters which impact them and their education. The program supports students to co-create safer and more inclusive school communities and empowers them to engage in conversations about safety within their school.
“BCE has also made it a priority to be in alignment with the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards, which requires students to be safe and informed about their rights, as well as participate in decisions affecting them," added Dr Towns.
“It brings me great pride to see BCE not only meeting but exceeding these standards. Our commitment to the protection of students is based on our belief that each person is made in the image of God, and our ethos is to provide a safe and supportive environment for all.
“My artwork manipulates symbolism through the hands of two individuals coming together to protect a chick (a metaphor for children) from the rain (a metaphor for harm). Hands of many individuals also elevate the chick, as a metaphor of support." – Eli.
“I have drawn a tree with the base telling us what the tree represents. The branches are like hands reaching up and helping children be safe and feel safe. I have written the people that help keep children protected in the branches because those people make me feel safe. The hearts are all the children, big and small who are protected by everyone. I have used different colours to represent all the different children." – Indi.
“I designed my artwork to depict the concept that each of us are on our own growth journey in life. For us to grow, we need to make connections with others and approach support when we're in need. Children need to be aware of the support available to them, while feeling confident to know who to go to. The concept of a tree was used to illustrate the growth that can be achieved when children are given support. Children need to know they will be listened to, and their voice will be heard by others. It is 'everyone's responsibility to protect children.' My design indicates that there are people (SPCs) to call on when you need help, who are always there to support you. This is illustrated in the large hand clasping the little hand, whereby the child is supported by the SPCs. This embrace of the hands represents safety and connection, forming the tree together. The coloured love hearts represent the flourishment of students when they receive support. The variety of colours is a metaphor for the different experiences of each child. The entire artwork together represents that when we support each other we can overcome anything. This can hopefully allow and encourage children to develop and grow in strength." – Emilie.
“My artwork represents the theme of child protection because it has an adult sheltering a child, a symbol that I found online and decided to put my own twist on. It has a rainbow border that I think of as a protective shield to show the children who see this image that there is always someone watching over them and that they are protected no matter who they are, what they believe in or how they look." – Bonnie.
“It doesn't matter what anyone looks like, we all matter - no matter what!" – Mia.
Child Protection Week in Queensland is coordinated by the Child Protection Week Committee under the auspices of Act for Kids. In other states NAPCAN runs National Child Protection Week.
By promoting the value of children and focusing attention on the issues of child abuse and neglect, the objective of Child Protection Week is to raise the profile of all issues connected with child protection.
Brisbane Catholic Education Office
2A Burke Street, Woolloongabba Qld 4102 Australia
Turrbal and Yuggera Country
GPO Box 1201 Brisbane 4001 Australia
Phone: (07) 3033 7000
Fax: (07) 3844 5101