English News 

OZCLO 2021 Results

This year we had 25 teams (100 students) participate in Australian Computational Linguistics Olympiad (OZCLO). Students are placed either in Gold (top 25% of state) or Silver (top 50%) or Bronze and here are the students who are placed in the Gold Band:

 

TEAM 15

  • Rory Kilpatrick OX7
  • Sayam Mehta ON3
  • Seth Laharis ON2
  • Hou-Han (Hans) Teh OA7
 

 

TEAM 16

  • Jessica Zong 0S8
  • Manvitha Raju 0S8
  • Anastasia Terenteva 0S5
 

This year we had 8 teams placed in SILVER BAND, which included two Year 10 Teams!

Congratulations to all OZCLOers.

 

Ramesh Mahalingam

English Teacher

Creative Writing Club Launches A New Format

At the end of Term 1, we presented a new, student-focused format for the Creative Writing Club. As the leaders for 2021, Sophie Lan, Lola Sargasso, and I desired to create an environment that was safe, energetic, and filled with nothing but euphoria. Our vision was for the members to find their voice through written form, and to encourage them to accept their fears and write, not for anyone but themselves. 

 

We sent out a survey to the Teams channel that allowed people to choose their preferred activity – which ranged from meet-and-greet discussions, rotation storytelling, Hangman, and bed-time stories for tired students, with so many more. The main goal for this was to get input from the club’s members so it could be enjoyable and fun. 

 

The first meeting was student-run. The two activities that the club participated in were a game of a March Madness Bracket, where the club would discuss the best romance trope, as well as a short game of Hangman. It was a wonderful time, seeing everyone participate in activities and games, how new friendships were made, and how welcoming of an environment it created. We have since followed this up with another meeting in Week 2 of this term, which was equally interactive and fun.  

 

Not only is the Creative Writing Club’s goal to have physical, real-life meetings, but to get as much involvement from the online community, too. Every week on a Monday, a new prompt is sent out in the Teams channel, and anyone can respond to the prompt with a piece of their written work, no matter their style. This year, we have structured the entire Creative Writing Club channel in such a way to include everyone in this club regardless of their creative writing capacity or preference.  

 

Lola, Sophie, and I believe that inclusivity is the key to a safe, optimistic club, and by embracing our differences and likings for different aspects of writing, it is known by many that creative writing adds a new, shining facet to our school's largely STEM-based culture. As a final note, we encourage students to approach us if they would like more information about the club, or to message Ms. Lee-Ack if they wish to join. 

 

Jashan Suran

Year 10 

 

Creative Writing Award 

Congratulations to Jashan Suran (Y10), who received an honour in the Dymocks ‘Between the Lines’ writing competition, for this poignant and beautifully crafted piece.  

 

OLD WORLD, NEW WORLD  There is a providence in the universe that awaits us. It furrows its brows and takes a deep breath at the sight of its two beloved counterparts. One is Fortune, who blushes. The other, Serendipity, chuckles. 

“Inevitably, we meet once again,” Serendipity laughed, its echo reverberating through the universe.  

“I still wonder why you two are here. Aren’t we alter egos, trying to distance ourselves from each other?” 

“You know this was fate, Coincidence,” flirted Serendipity. 

Fortune only reached its hand out. As they intertwined their hands together, they created a heavenly triptych and looked below them, a dark blue abyss full of galaxies awaiting them. Many would say time does not exist in the cosmos; yet here it was. The Archaic World, Coincidence, the New World, Fortune, and the World of Truth, Serendipity, had clashed, and their aura had the divine realm of the universe bewitched. 

In another, parallel world, in the same epoch, a soft zephyr kissed a girl as her paintbrush danced along the blank canvas, changing colour every few strokes. Occasionally, a dollop of paint would land on her face. In this moment so perfect, a gush of wind changes the atmosphere, and the little girl whipped her head backwards. Her mother stood on the front porch, clicking her tongue. 

“Hera, darling, girls shouldn’t be so messy…” she whispers, using her delicate hands to clean her daughter’s mess.  

“If boys can be messy, I can be messy too.” 

Her mother frowned. “Of course, just be careful,” she soothed her, in such an ambiguous tone that instead of Hera wondering whatever she had done wrong, she seemed to be engaged in her own thoughts. 

“Mother, what happened to your eyes? They seem so…dark,” she questioned. Her mother freezes. She almost hesitated before replying with a hasty, “I didn’t sleep well.” 

“Maybe if you rest, will you feel less tired?” Hera hummed in oblivion. 

“Thank you, dear. Let’s go inside, it isn’t safe for you to be outside alone.”  

“But mother, my painting?” 

The motherly figure gave a small smile that felt as if it caressed her daughter with so much love and dedication. “Later, dear,” she sung, “Maybe when…Father…is home, yes?” 

“But Father’s never coming come.” 

Coincidence sighed. It looked to Serendipity and Fortune in sheer pity. The archaic world nodded, and as if on cue, Serendipity tore a piece of its soul, and blew on it. It did nothing but fly away. 

‘There is nothing humanity can do. COVID-19 has conquered over the world,’ the news reporter informed. There was a solemn tone to his voice, even through the television, as if he had just been crying. Hera looked at her mother with raised eyebrows. There was an unsettling silence between them. ‘There is no vaccine. There is no medicine. Nothing. Nowhere is safe, a face mask cannot protect us at all, we cannot-’ 

In a flash, her mother picked up the TV remote control and turned it off. 

“An awful lot of rubbish, this is, scaring people out of their wits…” she muttered. 

“Mum, was that news true?”  

“No.” She dug her nails into her palms. “They only do it the money, trust me.” 

“Nothing bad is going to happen, yeah?” Hera’s face was distorted in fear, only to be met by a sympathetic, kind face. 

“Of course not.” Hera was pulled into a warm hug. 

Fortune had breathed, sending out an aura of nothing but pure bliss. A wisp of Fortune’s mind floated far into the cosmos. Only a second later, it danced to planet Earth as it dwelled inside the mother’s heart and filled all its bruises, holes, and cracks with illuminated light. 

She didn’t have to live like this. The past was a fragment of her pain, now long forgotten. Fortune embraced her with such passionate care and cradled her like its child. Fortune whispered, “have courage, and stay kind.” 

Her mother crouched down to meet her soft hazel eyes. There was now a playful hint to the mother’s eyes. There was a new hope. 

“I will protect you, Hera. This whole virus doesn’t affect anything.”  

“Really?” The little girl’s face morphed into sheer bliss, her face illuminated with satisfaction. 

“Come, my dearest. We don’t have to be scared anymore,” the woman chuckled. “Let’s get some fresh air.” 

“But Mother…” 

“With our masks on!” she laughed immediately. Hera looked up at her mother. For the first time in eternity, she had never seen her mother so cheerful. Hera felt a tingly sensation that shot through her body. It was a new beginning. 

As the door opened, the illuminated rays of celebration greeted them with nothing but warmth. Coincidence smiled. 

The painting was left unfinished, ignored. It was an etching of the past, a forgotten totem of fear. 

“How do you feel?” Coincidence uttered. 

No one replied. They looked at the starry cosmos below them, where the woman and her daughter’s hearts beat in sync. There was nothing more beautiful than that.  

A soft, grassy field awaited them. Bright red poppies bloomed from them. 

“You know, Hera, your father used to be a soldier.” The flowers seemed to gush at this statement and bowed their heads in respect. “He was a great man.” 

“How come you never told me?” she asked. A pang of regret hit her mother, who only squeezed her daughter’s hand. Hera sensed that she was sorry. 

Hera could not see the flowers her mother imagined. Instead, the world painted a vivid picture of books that floated in the air and buildings shaped like birds. A miniscule book lands on her index finger before fluttering away. 

‘Book-birds!’ she thought, giggling. Only little does a young child like Hera know they were symbols of her freedom, her feminine power.  

Inevitably, time passed. COVID-19 finally came to an end. But the world did not end with a bang. Nor did it seethe as the great Sun swallowed it. It only waited for the inevitable. 

And the cosmic triptych knew.