Student Voices winner: the impact of lockdown and closures


Wednesday, 25 November, 2020


Student Voices winner: the impact of lockdown and closures

The winner of the inaugural Student Voices competition has been announced by Education Perfect (EP) in collaboration with The Big Smoke.

Keelan Heesterman of Karuma High School in New Zealand has won the top prize with his essay, ‘The Free Trial No-one Asked For’. 

Many entries were received from across Australia and New Zealand, with Heesterman’s essay judged as the winner by both a panel of experts and by a popular vote among readers of The Big Smoke.

The essay focused on the lockdowns and school closures associated with COVID-19, reflecting on the difficult situations he and his fellow students faced, as well as the coping mechanisms they needed to employ.

Heesterman was grateful that his love of writing provided an opportunity to have his voice heard by so many people and is looking forward to the editorial mentorship prize.

“I’m incredibly grateful to all the people who voted for my article and supported me in this competition. It is a privilege to have this opportunity to grow as a writer and receive mentorship from professional journalists.

“To say I’m excited would be an understatement,” he said.

EP CEO Alex Burke congratulated Keelan and the other finalists and participants, saying that the competition highlighted the depth of writing talent among the youth across Australia and New Zealand.

“Providing a student voice is so important in education, and I encourage everyone to read all the shortlisted entries, as it emphasises how important students’ insights are in creating a future for education.

“Keelan is a very deserving winner with his fantastically cynical, wise and honest entry displaying mature prose,” he said.

The winning essay is available to view on The Big Smoke, along with the works of all Student Voices finalists.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Raul Mellado

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