Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Competition 2014
For those of you who haven’t read my previous blog posts, for 2014/15 I have the honour of being the judge for the Junior Categories of the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Competition. From the beginning I was told that last year there were 6000 entries for the Junior Category (Primary students aged up to 12) and since the competition opened on March 1, entries have been steadily rolling in.
Not so now. With the closing date in sight, entries are no longer rolling in but dumping like an avalanche! Last night with a hot drink and nibbles I read through around 400 entries before calling it a night at about 11.30 p.m. This morning, miraculously there was a new batch waiting to greet me, so there are some wonderful teachers out there going far beyond the call of duty to make sure the work of their students is entered.
The words and the poems themselves have blown me away, some in a wonderful uplifting ‘Wow did a 10 year old write this?’ way and others make me sad as some show an outpouring of grief, which is a good way, I believe, for students to share their worries. Others make me laugh out loud as I’m reminded of the humour of a 5 or 6 year old and their honesty.
So far I’ve read and assessed just over 2000 and I wonder with extreme trepidation whether another 4000 will be blasting their way through in the remaining 6 days! I am definitely expecting a bulge from mail entries which will soon be uploaded by the wonderful Dorothea Mackellar team, but it gives me a wonderful warm feeling to contemplate how many young students are now creating masterpieces both in big schools in busy cities, in sunny seaside towns or perhaps home-schooled students on properties seemingly in the middle of nowhere all across Australia.
And yes, I still have a copy of my Victorian Readers – Sixth Book, and on Page 1 is ‘My Country.’