Kids to adults: Get off your phones and see what really matters

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Are you reading this on your phone? One of our bright young What Matters? Competition finalists might have a thing or two to say about that.

“Adults love to lecture children about the dangers of spending too much time on technology. I wonder if any of them have wondered about the effect of their addiction to technology, on their children?” writes Miriam Warwick-Smith, Year 5/6 category runner-up for NSW/ACT.

“I’d hate to grow up in a generation where people have no social skills. It looks like I have no choice.”

The What Matters? Competition, run by the Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney, asks kids in Years 5 to 12 across NSW, the ACT and Tasmania to put their thoughts into words and write about what matters to them. This year’s competition attracted a record-breaking 3754 entries from NSW/ACT alone – an extraordinary number.

The young people who have entered What Matters? this year have written thoughtfully and passionately on an incredible array of themes, putting paid to the idea that this generation is self-focused and disengaged.

The finalists have written powerfully about pertinent contemporary issues including the importance of strong political leadership, human trafficking, feminism, child slavery, terrorism and the experiences of refugees, as well as hopeful essays on the importance and transcendence of music, and the creation of harmony.

“Look at my family, for example, we truly show that almost anything is possible. We created harmony amongst two totally different religions. I was born in a family with parents from two different religions, two different languages, and two different ethnic groups,” writes Darshanik Aryal, the NSW/ACT Year 5/6 category winner.

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“If we created harmony in our house, why is it so hard for the world to create peace? We create peace at home, at school, and in our community without even knowing.”

The announcement of the Overall Competition Winner will be made at the What Matters? Award Ceremony on Tuesday 2 August at 3pm. The Ceremony will be held at the historic Female Orphan School, home to the Whitlam Institute.

NSW/ACT Competition Finalists:

Year 5/6 Winner Darshanik Aryal, Harmony Matters, Ironbark Ridge Public School, Rouse Hill

Year 5/6 Runner Up Miriam Warwick-Smith, Relationships Matter, St Aidan’s Primary, Rooty Hill

Year 7/8 Winner Saakshi Koul, We Matter, Ryde Secondary College

Year 7/8 Runner Up Imogen Rogers, Music Matters, Penrith Christian School

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Year 9/10 Winner Ramneek Thind, 21st Century Slavery, Blacktown Girls High School

Year 9/10 Runner Up Kirti Sharma, Human Trafficking – A crime against humanity, William Carey Christian School, Prestons

Year 11/12 Winner Madeleine Mott, We Matter, Holy Spirit College, Bellambi

Year 11/12 Runner Up Nicholas Raphael, Character Matters, William Clarke College, Kellyville

Tasmania Competition Finalists:

Year 5/6 Winner Pearl Parker, Growing up without knowing my birth parents, Campbell Street Public School, North Hobart

Year 5/6 Runner Up Amelia Fahey-Hankey, Waiting for the Sunrise, South Hobart Public School

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Year 7/8 Winner Jaimee Narracott, Somewhere in the world, Huonvile High School

Year 7/8 Runner Up Airlee Lawson, The story of one, Huonville High School

Year 9/10 Winner Jem Nalder, It’s not just a game, Taroona High School

Year 9/10 Runner Up Stacey Fox, What Matters, Huonville High School

Year 11/12 Winner Chloe Last, You’re not alone, Hellyer College, Burnie

(Source: Western Sydney University)

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Date Created: August 2, 2016