IWA 2020: Kindness and Bravery in the Face of Adversity.

Image shows excerpts from the 2020 Student Pack

The 2020 topic, Kindness and Bravery in the Face of Adversity, began by looking at famous Historical Challenges and Tragedies that revealed moments of great compassion or acts of heroism. Stories of endurance, courage, human connection, or great selflessness. We addressed global and national wars, looking closely at individuals such as Anne Frank and political movements such as the Underground Railway. Discussion turned to stories of kindness and bravery noted in the face of Natural Disasters, for example, the Christchurch Earthquake and the Australian Bushfire Season of 2019, Illness and Disease, for example, cancer and HIV, Tragedy, for example, the Christchurch Mosque Shootings, Famous Sporting Moments, and finally stories about our Everyday Real-Life Heroes.

Students were asked to choose an event or situation marked by adversity that also revealed moments of great kindness, compassion and/or bravery. They were asked to discuss the history or circumstances of the event, to describe what happened and to consider how it spoke to our humanity. For example, what did it say about us as people? What exactly is compassion? What is bravery? Why did the story they chose matter to them? As always, students were asked to bring the story of who they are to their essay.

Phenomenal standard of writing again this year. Tino pai rawa atu. Judges wish to convey their appreciation that you have wrestled with this important topic and made it your own. A particular nod to those who courageously penned a personal story or experience of kindness and bravery in the face of adversity. There were many tremendously moving and humbling entries this year. All essays were a privilege to read. To those of you with writing dreams who may not see your name in the winning or commended lists, please know that you may well have been very close to the top of the pile. Please keep writing. Choosing winners was a difficult process and judges deliberated long and earnestly. The standard of composition, as well as the messages, ideas, ideals, beliefs and hopes communicated, confirm, once again, that the rangatahi voice of Aotearoa is strong and considered, and that those in positions of power would do well to heed it. Thank you to all entrants.

Year 7 and 8 Division
First Place: N Weston, “Frank William Weston” Remuera Intermediate School
Second Place: C Prebble, “Colonial Women and the Challenges They Faced” Wā Ora Montessori
Third Place: V Richardson, “Grandpa” Remuera Intermediate School
Year 5 and 6 Division
First Place: J Beattie, “This is How I Roll” Pukekohe Hill School
Second Place: J Fuiava, “The Mau” Waitakere Primary School
Third Place: R Simpson, “The Quake That Changed Our Lives” St Albans School
Judges awarded a total of 14 Highly Commended Awards and 40 Commended Awards