Students tackle tough issues during Life Week

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Sydney Catholic students have tackled topics ranging from racism and refugees to drug abuse and the value of families in the inaugural Write to Life competition.

Judges for the archdiocesan competition praised the quality of material and diversity of topics chosen by entrants across the primary, junior secondary and senior secondary categories in film, art and writing.

This was the focal point of the Catholic Education Office’s inaugural Life Week last month.

The competition was created “to celebrate the value of human life, the dignity of family life and to affirm that our young people do carry a great value for life”, Catholic Education Office religious adviser Michael Reid said at the awards ceremony.

Secondary writing competition entrants wrote essays, poetry, and prose on the words of Pope Francis: “Things have a price and can be for sale, but people have a dignity that is priceless and worth far more than things.”

“We are trying to say that drugs demoralise human life and make you feel like your life isn’t’ worth living – but in true fact we need to value lives more,” said Joseph Fabrello who shared his prize with fellow Marist Penshurst student Romeo Lim for their poem on drug abuse.

Rosa Do, a Year 10 student at Casimir College, Marrickville, won the Senior Secondary Writing section for her essay on racism.

“I am Australian because I was born here, but some people have this perception that they think I’m from another country, so it kind of hits home to me,” she said.

“I just wanted people to know that racism does hurt – and it’s an issue that can be associated with the Church’s teachings and values because sometimes people forget that racism is equivalent to homelessness and poverty – it’s emotional hurt.”

Primary winner, Coeli Galang, in Year 4 at St Michael’s primary, Meadowbank, said her painting of a tree showed that a tree is strong – “and that’s how a family should be in tough times”.

“Taking care of each other is important,” she said.

Mr Reid said organisers were “very impressed with the range and quality of work… the quality was far greater than expected”.