PAWSOME STORIES – Victorian kids win writing awards

Back by popular demand, RSPCA Victoria’s Pawsome Stories writing competition was yet again received with overwhelming enthusiasm for the second year with 345 applications resulting in six Victorian children winning writing awards for their animal stories. With much fanfare and celebration, the recipients of this year’s Pawsome Stories Awards were announced last week via a live webinar to an audience of more than 200 primary school students and their families.

RSPCA Victoria’s Pawsome Stories invited Victorian children in grades three to six to put their writing skills to the test, asking participants to write either a fictional story about rescuing an animal, or a persuasive essay to answer the question, ‘If you could change one thing in the world to improve animals’ lives, what would it be and why?’

This year’s Pawsome Stories applications were reviewed by two of Australia’s most renowned children’s authors, Andy Griffiths, and Cameron Macintosh, who joined RSPCA Victoria’s CEO Dr Liz Walker on the judging panel.

Andy Griffiths said he was incredibly impressed with the calibre of the written work he reviewed.

“I loved reading all of the stories on the fictional story shortlist. They all demonstrated both great story-telling abilities and the willingness to escape our human-centric viewpoint and imagine what life might look like from the point of view of animals. This leap of imagination is vital in creating a kinder and more caring world for animals,” Andy said.

Cameron Macintosh said it was a real honour to be on the Pawsome Stories judging panel again, in its second year.

“As a judge for the persuasive essay category, I was more than impressed by the writing and research skills of the entrants, and deeply moved by the depth of their compassion for the world’s voiceless and most vulnerable creatures.

“This year’s winners engaged with complex subjects including habitat loss, pet licences, animal testing and pet welfare programs. It was an absolute pleasure to read the proof of their love for animals, and particularly their innovative ideas for dealing with the animal welfare issues they identified. I’m already very excited to see what our next batch of Pawsome writers comes up with in 2022,” said Cameron.

“This year’s Pawsome Stories competition ran during a time when many young Victorians were spending an extended period of time at home and away from school, and we hoped the competition would provide an opportunity to practice creative writing and critical thinking skills. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy reading the stories, I was humbled to hear the empathy and compassion for animals that was so clearly illustrated through the words of each story,” said RSPCA Victoria’s CEO, Dr Liz Walker.

And the winners for the fictional story are:

Cruze Marsh – “Being part of the RSPCA Pawsome Stories Competition was amazing! The best part was meeting the judges (Andy Griffiths and Cam Macintosh) and Dr Liz Walker online! We got to ask questions about what it would be like if we were to become an author and what it would be like to protect and look after animals. It was a great opportunity. I thank the all the organisers for encouraging the writers of the future. I hope everyone will continue to support all the brilliant work RSPCA does for animals in our community.”

Evalena Dimond – “Participating in the Pawsome Stories competition was wonderful, as both writing and animal welfare are important to me. It was very exciting meeting and having my work read by professional authors. There were challenges, at first it was difficult to come up with an idea, and I had a bit of trouble sticking to the page limit, but I figured it out and the competition was really fun and an excellent learning experience, I definitely think I’ve grown as a writer.”

Oliver Oswald – “The Pawsome Stories competition was amazing, I really enjoyed writing “The Secret Dragon” and hope I can write another story like that. I thank all the judges and organisers of this event for all the hard work and effort they have put into this, and am honoured to have had this outstanding opportunity.”

And the awards for the persuasive essay are:

Tess Wallis – “When I got the email saying that I was a finalist I was so excited I could not wait until the day of the presentation. On the day of the presentation, I was waiting nervously to see if my name was going to be called, they announced 3rd and 2nd and it wasn’t me, so I was really nervous. Then they announced 1st place – I was so excited because I won and my whole class is going to get a tour of the RSPCA barn. I did lots of drafts and it was very hard work. It is so important that we help animals if they are injured or hurt and writing about it means more people learn and know about this.”

Diana Zhang

Eman Mohammad – “My experience with Pawsome Stories was amazing, I loved writing my story and standing up for the animals who can’t stand for themselves. I feel like everyone is a winner because the people who wrote their stories want to make a change and a difference in animal cruelty.”

Prizes included a Pawsome Stories trophy, Dymock’s vouchers, plush toys and virtual tours to meet RSPCA Victoria’s barn animals.

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