Poetic praise

A PATRIOTIC poem penned by a Griffith Public School student has earned a prestigious national writing prize.

Twelve-year-old Mele Fifita has been awarded the Community Relations Commission (CRC) Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Award for her poem titled Australia Fair.

Judges said the poems beauty was in its "honesty and simplicity".

"It is a courageous and balanced poem which does not seek to downplay the daily struggle and difficulties of re-settlement in a foreign and sometimes confusing and alienating country," judge Sally Murphy said.

"However it is also joyfully and liberally acclaims tolerance, acceptance and change.

"I feel this poem truly exemplifies all the fundamentals which the CRC award seeks to embody. It is a paean of hope."At her year 6 graduation on Tuesday night, Mele was presented with her prizes of a medallion, a collection of books, and a linocut trophy Blowing in the Wind by Gunnedah artist Anne Pickett, and a cheque for $500.

Mele thanked her teacher Lal Maharajah for his guidance.

“I was really surprised when I found out I had won,” she said.

“I like to write poetry. English and reading are my favourite subjects.

“I took inspiration from all of the different people who make up my school.”

Griffith Public School principal Jude Hayman said she was extremely proud of Mele’s efforts.

“We’ve had students participate in the past, but this is the first time we’ve had a winner,” she said.

“Mele is a beautiful student and we are very proud of her particularly because this poem is about acceptance and diversity.

“Unfortunately because we are a multicultural school we do face racism in the school from time to time. It is wonderful for Mele to be rewarded for the hard work she’s done.”

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