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Prize poetry abounds

GRADE five/six students from The Cottage School proved they had a way with words when they were presented with the National Primary Dorothea MacKellar Poetry Award.

Established in 1984 in recognition of the famous Australian poet who wrote “My Country”, the Dorothea MacKellar Poetry Award is an annual event that invites students from across the nation to submit original poems.

The competition has grown from 300 entries in its first year to tens of thousands of entries from across Australia.

Having participated for the past eight years, The Cottage School grade five and six class once again jumped at the opportunity to get involved and submitted 30 poems – a few of which were based on the optional theme: ‘Is there anybody there?’

The Cottage School marketing sub-committee member Jane Patel said everyone was very proud of the children’s work, especially knowing that they had worked hard to make their poems the best they could be.

“The students really enjoyed taking part in the competition, but their main enjoyment of poetry comes from poetry for its own sake and this is the most important thing to them,” she said.

“At The Cottage School, our motto is ‘Small School, Big Difference’ and one of the differences is that students in grades three to six have weekly sessions dedicated to poetry.

“This includes reading, analysing and writing poetry, learning about poetic devices and enjoying poems of all types.

“Students have the chance to experiment with different forms and themes and often present poems at our weekly ‘gathering’ (assembly).

“The emphasis is on having a go, on choosing the perfect words for each line, listening to the music of poetry and helping each other to edit and polish the work.”

For its efforts in the national competition, The Cottage School received a trophy, a package of books and $1000, some of which will go towards new shelving to house the school’s growing collection of poetry anthologies.

For three weeks, the school also mounted a display of the students’ poems along the public walkway through of the middle of the school greenspace.

This will now become an annual exhibition for the public to view.

Caption: The Cottage School students with teacher Kate Neasey were presented with the National Primary Dorotha MacKellar Poetry Award by Julie Collins MP.