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Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Page: 11368

Mr SIMPKINS (9:30 AM) —Last Friday, 23 October, I went to the St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School in Wanneroo to present an award to the school at their assembly. The award was for being the runners-up in the schools section of the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards. As members may be aware, the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards is the largest and in fact the oldest poetry competition for schools in Australia. The aim of the competition is to capture the imagination of students, inspiring them to express their thoughts creatively through poetry. The competition is named after Dorothea Mackellar, arguably our most famous poet and author of the famous poem My Country, and gives Australian young people an opportunity to strive for excellence in poetry.

The awards are hosted by the Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society, based in Gunnedah in north-west New South Wales. Four hundred and sixty-two schools participated, and I count it as a great achievement that St Anthony’s was second of all the competing primary schools in the entire country. Fourteen of the students submitted poetry, under the guidance of the gifted education coordinator and teacher, Sandra Corcoran. I presented an award that represented a telescope and a star, which reflected the theme, ‘Searching for stars’. Apart from the award, I also presented the school with a cheque for $750 and a number of books for the school library.

After the school assembly, I met with the students. I acknowledge the success of Noah Ivulich and Tayla Short, from year 7. I say congratulations to Breana Kelly, Shannon Kelly and Elizabeth Simmonds, from year 6, and well done to Annette Briffa-Healy, Sian Douglas, Melanie Moroney and Keisha Omar, from year 5. The year 4s that did very well for the team effort were Bruce Patmore, Elaina O’Connor, Lauren Kincaid, Bronte Fresle and Shanelle DeLucia. The judges, in this case Dr Robert Kimber and Ms Sue Gough, made a comment about the better poetry in the competition, saying:

It is emotion, deliberately given shape in the writer’s acute observations upon a theme which is very special to that writer at the time of writing.

I take the opportunity of thanking the Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society, project officer Helen Green and the judges for enabling this excellent competition to take place and upholding the standing of the literary arts in Australia, particularly poetry. I congratulate Mrs Corcoran and the 14 students for doing so very well in the national competition.

I have always thought highly of St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School in Wanneroo, and I would particularly like to briefly comment on the confident and well-mannered students at the school. On the day I visited, I met and spoke to a number of the students. The older students were very respectful and yet had the confidence to speak with me. The younger students, while perhaps struggling to be confident in speaking to me, had no problem approaching me to receive their merit certificates and shake my hand. They are a credit to their parents, teachers and staff. Strong moral values are clearly embedded at the school. Once again I congratulate St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School, Wanneroo, for their success. I also congratulate the principal, Peter Cutrona, and all the staff at the school for the work they do and the success they have in providing a Catholic education in Wanneroo, Western Australia.