Student Poetry Competition 2023: Year 7 – 8 Winners

Poetic confidence and powerfully conveyed performances are some of the key qualities shared by the Year 7–8 winners of this year’s Student Poetry Competition.

Congratulations to Pippa L O’Connor (Ballarat Grammar School), Sebastian De Marte (Christian College Geelong), Aurelia Cabrera (The Knox School), Charlie Russo (Woodleigh School), Grace Sudjono (Harkaway Hills College) and all of those who received honourable mentions.


The competition, part of the Arts Learning Festival, was open to students from all school sectors, and attracted almost 600 entries.

Written poetry winners
‘A confident, concise and upbeat poem with a clear message.’
‘Online Friends’
Pippa L O'Connor, Ballarat Grammar School

I’m known for being a fast texter
Perhaps it’s because I’m always on my phone
Or maybe it’s because I know without friends
I would feel incredibly alone.


I can notice little switches
When our friendship must have changed
It started off by calling each other every day
To now a one word exchange.


I started to think I’d done something
I can be a bit needy, I know
Because you were responding so fast
Why have you become so slow.


I see you walking around
I dare to wave and say hello
But all you do is glance at me
As if I were a stranger, so I turn and go.


I thought we were good friends
Even if we were only talking on a screen
But the way you look at me now,
It makes me feel unseen.


Now sometimes you might call me

Because to you I suddenly seem exciting
But really the truth is
You only want to be on the list of people I’m inviting.


Outside of the screen
The friendships I have carry a strong special bond
While the ones on technology
Don’t even care to respond.


So it’s true
That our friendship is currently locked
It might be worth sending you a message again
Or it might be best marking you as Blocked.

‘A beautiful balance of painting a picture and leaving room for curiosity.’
‘Listen To The Music’
Sebastian De Marte, Christian College Geelong


The orchestra strikes
The very first note
And something great begins
Violins soar
Trumpets boom
Percussion beats a rhythmic pattern
A story unfolds
Seen only in mind
A journey felt and never walked
Every step a mark upon the page
The melody is the road set out
The harmonies a brave adventurer
And the silent audience watches
Seeing it all
Hearing it all
Feeling it all
Clear as a book
Pictures leaping to mind
A set of rapid stairs
Gliding birds
Something precious put just out of reach
Or something unlocked
Deep within
Understanding all around
For what you find inside a tune
Is always different
Not always even
What the composer intended
As you sit
The music flows
It reaches for the soul
Everything you do changes something
However unnoticeably small
And it can never be undone
Listening to music is just the same
It might even change you.

Performance poetry winners
‘The powerfully conveyed performance, honours the poem and generates much to reflect on.’
‘The Man on The Steering Wheel’
Aurelia Cabrera, The Knox School
‘Confident body language and natural pace let the wonderful words of the poem do the work.’
‘A Voice’
Charlie Russo, Woodleigh School
‘The poet’s confident and calm style allows thoughts to marinate in the minds of the audience.’
‘Journey Thus Far’
Grace Sudjono, Harkaway Hills College
Honourable mentions
  • Avleen Chaggar, The Knox School – ‘The Final Goodbye’
  • Cairo Cullinane, The Hamilton and Alexandra College – ‘The Travails of the Viking’s Sails’
  • Julianna Avila Daboub, Harkaway Hills College – ‘Path of Nostalgia’
  • Sophie Degenhardt, Yarra Valley Grammar School – ‘Solitude’
  • Hannah Everard, Harkaway Hills College – ‘Reaching Its End’
  • Arjun Gupta, St Leonard’s College – ‘Ode to a Basketball Star’
  • Sophie Guthridge, Christian College Geelong – ‘The Floods’
  • Mysha Hasan Bavazeer, Al-Taqwa College – ‘Journey to Australia’
  • Talia Hoskins Green, Alice Miller School – ‘Waves of Grief’
  • Deanna Hu, St Andrews Christian College – ‘Journey of Life with You’
  • Angelica Hui, Tintern Grammar – ‘Oblivion’
  • Erlinda Mahmutaj, Australian International Academy – ‘The Journey of the Sea’
  • Lola Philip-Szaraz, Bellarine Secondary College – ‘Suicide by natural causes’
  • Pragya Puri, Beaconhills College – ‘Home of my life’
  • Jacqueline Rogers, Genazzano FCJ College – ‘Journey into the Unknown… for a Better Tomorrow’
  • Shelby Santospirito, St Michael’s Grammar School – ‘Keep walking’
  • Mehak Soin, Haileybury Girls College – ‘The Pawn’
  • Morad Sulaman, Australian International Academy – ‘The Demon Slayer’
  • Jaz Turner, Beaconhills College – ‘The Beach, the Board, and the Surfers Soul’
  • Beizhen (Selina) Wu, Methodist Ladies College – ‘The Lost Fragments of Memory’
  • Monica Yu, Harkaway Hills College – ‘The Sun’