On Monday 17th November, we were delighted to welcome the Winners and Runners-up of the Commonwealth Essay Competition 2014 to the Royal Commonwealth Society offices in Victoria, London.
Selected by a team of Commonwealth judges earlier this year, and having travelled from Pakistan, Jersey, Singapore, and Canada, it was a wonderful to bring together the young writers in London, to share experiences stories, and ideas.
Raniya, Max, Selina and Leah Annia were chosen from among nearly 10,000 entries from 44 Commonwealth countries and territories, to be named the Winners and Runners-up of this year’s competition. Having read their entries, and corresponded with them in the run-up to November, it was fantastic to finally meet such inspiring young people in person.
Following a warm welcome by the office, the winners started their week with an interactive writing workshop led by Alison Milford, a freelance author for children’s books. The animated workshop was an opportunity for the four young writers to get to know each other better and hone their writing skills. The workshop included ice-breakers, brainstorming games and the exploration of future-looking themes in the winners’ brand new notebooks.
Max de Bourcier, the Junior Winner, taking part in the Writing Workshop, Day One
After the workshop, the winners headed to ABC Studios to record their winning entries. Raniya, Max, Selina and Leah each took their turn in front of the microphone before being interviewed about their experience of the competition.
In the afternoon, the group visited Oaklands School in Bethnal Green, which has previously taken part in a number of Royal Commonwealth Society programmes. The group was greeted by Headteacher, Patrice Canavan, who warmly congratulated the group on their achievements, before two student ambassadors took the winners on a tour of the school. The visit was a great opportunity for our young guests to learn more about the school system in England, and for the Oakland students to meet their peers from across the Commonwealth. Highlights included the music studio, the media suite and the climbing wall in the gym hall!
The day concluded with a visit to The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe for Raniya, the Senior Winner and Max, the Junior Winner. Enjoying the panoramic views across London, it was a chance for the winners to reflect on their achievements and the perfect end to a busy first day.