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Monday, 7 November 2016
Page: 3007

Ms VAMVAKINOU (Calwell) (10:48): I recently attended a Writers' Festival Week held at Greenvale Primary School in my electorate. Writers' Festival Week is an innovative program organised by Ms Georgia Kroger, the English leader at Greenvale Primary School. It is a program that sees students learn new writing devices, helps them increase their vocabulary and also helps them understand how powerful the use of words is and how writing in itself can be a very powerful expression of one's feelings, emotions and ideas.

The entire school—all 700 students plus, from the foundation students to the year 6 classes—took part in this year's festival, which was themed 'Wishes, hopes and dreams'. During my visit I did enjoy hearing what our students wrote about through their stories. Some students revealed emotional tales of hope, some wrote of their social justice and equality dreams for the world that we live in and some wrote personal wishes for their families, friends and communities. Their writings showcased a sophistication that pretty much belied their age. In these classrooms I saw future leaders and a generation that deeply thinks about and cares about community and the environment.

Given that we do live in an era of spellcheck, emoji and text messages, students have at their disposal all sorts of language shortcuts through their PCs, iPads and iPhones, so initiatives such as writers' festival week are of the utmost importance, especially in younger students, because they allow the emphasis to be put back on the writing and they encourage students to use their imagination and become creative writers. They also allow the next generation of professionals and leaders in this country to understand and explore the value of words, and understand grammar and language so that they can all obtain the full benefit of language and communication.

A number of the students at Greenvale Primary School told me that before the program they thought writing was boring and it was a chore but, since going through the program, they realise just how important reading the thesaurus is and what a wonderful tool writing is to help them express themselves and to tell their stories. They became very excited and very engaged.

I want to take this opportunity to read out one particular story written by young Adela Luke that I was touched by. It was a story filled with so much emotion. She wrote about her everlasting wish to bring back and have one more moment with her beloved brother Harly. In her story she wrote, 'If it comes true, I'd jump all the way to heaven and back.' I was moved. Adela's writing is just wonderful, and the fact that she was able to express this deeply held wish and read it out to everyone was quite a treat for us all. (Time expired)