KUCHING (October 5): Christabel Lau and Ong Rui Yu of St Joseph’s International School (SJIS) were here among the 171 gold finalists out of 25,648 participants in the 2021 Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition.
According to a press release, the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition (QCEC), established in 1883, is the oldest international writing competition for schools in the world.
With thousands of young people participating each year, this is an important way to recognize achievements, raise the voice of young people and develop key skills through creative writing.
The theme of this year’s competition is âCommunity in the Commonwealthâ.
For Lau, participating in competitions like the QCEC allowed her to explore the depths of her creativity and broaden her knowledge of what was going on around her.
âIt took me about a week to come up with different ideas of how I wanted the story to unfold. The concept of the story had been revised three times before I settled on the current concept.
âIt was my goal to make the writing trip as fun as possible and it took me about two months to come up with a final draft that I was proud of,â she said.
She thanked her English teacher Ann Armstrong for presenting a variety of writing contests last year and for encouraging her students to participate.
âI probably wouldn’t have known QCEC without her. It was also thanks to her that I was able to improve my writing skills so drastically, âshe said and encouraged the students to challenge themselves in writing competitions.
âYou really learn and gain a lot of awareness on a variety of topics like climate change, life etc. “
Ong has chosen to write on the subject “Staying connected through Covid-19”.
âIt was a challenge to bring my thoughts and feelings together on an ongoing pandemic when all I wanted to do was escape from this world. It took a month of many changes of ideas, drafts and modifications before this work was done today.
âI wanted to show people and document their experiences – the ups and downs. The main sources of inspiration were âNightâ by Elie Wiesel and two pieces of music – âMoon Songâ by Karen O and âI’m Forrestâ¦ Forrest Gumpâ by Alan Silvestri, âshe said.
When Ong learned she was one of the gold finalists, she said the news came as a “spring breeze in the midst of a stressful study period.”
âI felt grateful that God gave me this achievement and I was happy that my results improved from last year’s Silver.
âI hope to hone my skills even further to reach the title Winner next year God willing,â she said.
She encouraged aspiring writers to read more to expose themselves to different ways of expression; to know what they are trying to convey and to be creative.
âUnderstand your audience. QCEC is looking for creative and profound works and it is an avenue to make your heart overflow. Most importantly, don’t stop halfway, âshe said.
Meanwhile, Lydia Ting, also from SJIS, received a Silver Award from QCEC.
âIt took me about five days to complete the trial and when I found out that I had won the money I was very surprised and happy because it was really unexpected.
âI am beyond grateful and privileged to receive this award,â she said and thanked Armstrong for presenting and encouraging her and her classmates to enter this competition.
She said joining QCEC opened her eyes and motivated her to become a better version of herself.
âI would like to encourage other students to join us because you never know what you can accomplish if you don’t try. Anything is possible if you put your whole heart into it and work hard.
âI myself am looking forward to writing again in the future,â Ting said.