SJIS wins at Queen’s Commonwealth Essay 2021

Four students from St Joseph’s International School earned medals in the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Contest 2021.

Oct 22, 2021

Clockwise from top left: Christabel Lau, Ong Rui Yu, Lydia Ting, Irisa Chai. (Photo: SJPS)

By Ann Armstrong
Four students from St Joseph’s International School earned medals in the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Contest 2021. Ong Rui Yu and Christabel Lau earned gold awards, while Lydia Ting earned silver and Irisa Chai secured bronze. The topic was the ongoing pandemic which, after almost two years, continues to dominate the news and our lives.

“The news came like a spring breeze amidst a period of stressful studying. My feelings were a gentle sort of happiness with flowers blooming and the world embraced in a bird song. I felt grateful that God has granted me this achievement,” said Ong.

“I am honoured that my essay had even been sent into the final panels,” stated Lau.

These are unexpected, but outstanding achievements, as there were over 25,000 entries from around the world. Ong and Lau were two of the 171 gold finalists. The Principal of St Joseph’s International school, Br Robert Teoh, congratulated the students on their outstanding achievements.

“I encourage all the students to participate in the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Contest and other contests too. They can broaden their horizons through them,” he said.

“This essay competition gives a purpose to writing and places it within the world beyond the classroom. The students realise that writing is an ongoing process,” explained their teacher, Ann Armstrong.

The pandemic and ways in which the world stayed connected was something that we all experienced. However, the four students went beyond the expected in creative, but carefully structured writing.

“It was a challenge to gather my thoughts and feelings about an ongoing pandemic when all I wanted to do was escape from this world,” said Ong. She continued that it took her about one month to complete the essay and she drew inspiration from long walks and her playlist.

Poetry, which featured in Ting’s dramatic piece, left no doubts in the readers’ minds about how the pandemic turned the entire world upside down. She moved from personal losses and experiences to our never-ending thankfulness to all frontliners.

Ong and Lau joined the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition in 2020 and earned silver and bronze awards respectively.

“Joining this competition for the first time has really opened my eyes and motivated me to become a better version of myself. Thus I will look forward to writing again in the future,” said Ting. Ong encouraged everyone to join and pointed out that writing is a process.

“Even now, I want to rewrite my submitted essay,” explained Ong.

These award winning essays on the ongoing pandemic that has affected us all profoundly can be read on the St Joseph’s International School website.--Today's Catholic

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