Raina Joseph knows what matters.
The Girraween High School year 11 student is among the eight finalists in the 2014 What Matters? essay competition run by The University of Western Sydney's Whitlam Institute and supported by ReachOut.
The competition allows NSW students in years 5 to 12 to submit a 400-600 word opinion piece on topics in society that are important to them and have their voices heard.
■ Read Raina's compelling entry here.
Whitlam Institute director Eric Sidoti said the entries received this year were once again thoughtful and insightful.
“Our school kids cop a lot of flack one way or another,'' he said.
''They’re told time and time again that they aren’t as literate, numerate, slim or healthy as kids use to be. Really?
“Year after year we receive ... literally thousands of essays from young people who are thoughtful, insightful, articulate and deeply concerned about the world in which they live. This small window into their lives tells a different story.”
The What Matters? Award Ceremony will be held on monday, August 18 at the Female Orphan School, UWS Parramatta.
Other finalists selected from more than 2500 entries are:
Year 5/6 Category
Winner: Brendon Chen, St Ives North Public School, Animal Smuggling: It’s Wrong
Runner-Up: Daniel Beattie, Lane Cove West Public School, Giving It a Go
Year 7/8 Category
Winner: Anonymous, Give Australian Children their Voice
Runner-Up: Max Moran, Reddam House, It’s Our Starting and End Point
Year 9/10 Category
Winner: Dana Tribbia, North Sydney Girls High School, What Matters? An Ordinary Answer
Runner-Up: Vivian Truong, Fort Street High School, Keys Between My Fingers
Year 11/12 Category
Winner: Raina Joseph, Girraween High School, Asking For It
Runner-Up: Eleanor Hall, Loreto Kirribilli, Killers or Heroes?