“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” —Benjamin Franklin
In these challenging times when ‘doing something worth writing’ is increasingly difficult, we need to work on writing ‘something worth reading’ and the boys have certainly been doing a lot of that! We are very pleased to share with you some of these compositions.
Year 11 English Standard Students
Have been studying the poetry of Peter Skryznecki. One of the poems set for study is Feliks Skryznecki in which the poet reflects on his relationship with his father. In response to this poem, students in Ms Borg’s class were tasked with composing a piece of writing in which they reflect on a family member of their own. Here are two of our favourite pieces:
Autumn leaves fall but for a moment, followed by an eternal blizzard.
For a moment in time, everything freezes
I get to see her; laugh with her and belong
But the sun always sets; and that moment in time melts away.
Like the sun, she shines brightly;
but the closer I get, the more it hurts.
I try to reach for her, but I always fall short;
And when I look up, she’s gone…
The endless frost falls, like the swing of a pendulum,
entrancing me in its shimmer.
The days repeat on end, And I can’t catch up.
“How many days has it been,
since I last saw the autumn leaves fly?”
The fog around me is thick;
It clouds my vision
And my path dissipates.
No light to guide me forward,
Lost forever in the eternal darkness
Nothing left, my strength waned,
But once again for a moment in time;
The sun comes out
And the autumn leaves continue to fall
“BOYS! Get in the car or Kai is going to be late for work and then training and Ash, you’re gonna be late for your first music lesson. AHHHHH! Where are my keys? Kai, can you run up to my vanity and grab my keys?” I bolt up sets of stairs and into the two big wooden doors entering into their bedroom. As I turn to grab the keys I see the massive pile of books towering on my mum’s bedside table. We jump into the car and off we rush. Mum is like our personal taxi driver, always running around for us three boys like a headless chicken. As the sun sets and the fire is laid Mum pulls out one of her books from the Jenga tower on her bedside table. She sits down, kicks her feet up and unwinds with a coffee in one hand and the book in the other. She builds herself into a library wall in the corner of the room. She sits still as if she isn’t even there, sucked into the book, living the life of the book itself, ignoring everything but the book that helps her escape from the hectic pace, away from us three boys that she slaves for day in day out. (Kai Anderson)
Year 11 Advanced students
Have spent the term engaging with the poetry of W.B. Yeats and researching the Irish Troubles as part of the study. Students in Mrs Carlon’s class were asked to write a creative response to Yeats’ poem Easter 1916 and a short story The Sniper. These are two of our favourite responses:
The creaking of a wooden floor above causes an innocent brow to dampen with sweat, and a once mobile body stops dead in its tracks. A heart, already racing with relentless speed seems to find a second wind and steadily quickens its pace. The innocent pupils, below the innocent brow seem to lock in place, their gaze fixed on a darkened, claustrophobic space between the soft carpet and hardwood underside of a coffee table, barely large enough to accommodate the currently statuesque body. A moment, which seems to encompass an entire day passes, before two arms sprout from the shadow below the coffee table and beckon the observer to step forth and occupy the empty space, causing the innocent pupils to break from the gaze and instead look upon another stationary figure to the left, sitting in a wheelchair. Drinking in the image of the man whose skin is pulled taut against his bones, whose eyes are sunken deeper into his head than a crashed vessel at the bottom of the ocean, whose capabilities of producing a sound other that the rhythmic beep of an EKG unit were taken long ago, sent a glacial shiver down the throat of the observer. His stone stiffened body quickly reverted back to flesh as he began the trek towards the beckoning hands.(Dhanush Talapaneni)
The pitter patter and the booming of thunder lingers in my mind. The cries, screams, the gunshots, all of it. He didn’t have to do that for me. Such a youthful soldier, caught in the midst of a battle he was too ill-educated about. It’s a Monday; he should’ve been at school. A martyr for a cause he hadn’t even scraped the iceberg of. My mind stings from this battery acid tasting whiskey and my limp, faucet-dripping arms shiver like a victim of parkinson’s syndrome. These twig-looking legs are going to buckle like a drunkard at a party and the road home just slowly becomes more and more narrower. Oh, I should’ve done more. It’s a shame these colours are blending more and more into a knocked out black. I can’t do this life anymore, god, please let me apologise to him. (Benjamin Thomas)
In Ms Gazzola’s Year 7 classes
Students worked on their collaborative learning skills to compose the beginning of a narrative that incorporated a range of objects that the students had collected from around their houses. Please enjoy one of our favourite pieces:
In the gloomy shadows of a dark, long-forgotten room, shadows lurked. But one shadow stood out from the rest, one was not an illusion. This shadow was a dark, devious manifestation set out to cause chaos. But something stood in the way of harm. A shield against the darkness of the depths. A singular ring that held the power of heaven and hell within its diamond shaft, but the power had been split in two, heaven and hell were divided for the safety of mankind. The two had been in balance for many years, but this evil wanted to possess this ring to restore his heart. This power however would launch catastrophe, and the demon was dead set on plunging humanity into chaos….
1940, Glasgow, Scotland. A quiet, ill-lit morning set in as the rats scouring the night scattered and a man emerged from his bedroom. He woke up to the sound of rain pattering down onto his balcony, and quietly sipped his orange juice in his lowly kitchen. He was admiring how dark the city had become when he saw a large obscure shadow peeking through his eye. It looked as if it had tentacles like garden hoses. “Maybe it was just me hallucinating”, he pondered. As he opened his closet, he reached for his robe. (Max Blacklock, Geordie Dimitroulis, Kevin Thomas, Majd Abdul Latif, Xavier Stackhouse, Zac Nielsen).
These are the objects that the boys needed to incorporate into their work: Orange Juice, Hippie-Robe, Garden Hose, Ring
A small group of students in Ms Gazzola’s Year 7C English class experimented with some Found Poetry and composed the following:
Clocks of confidence,
Sweet, mangoes glitter,
The passion that we have,
A link to living.
Bodies full of hope,
We have great and kind hearts.
We allow all, we all matter,
We welcome skeletons to Atlantis,
And a link to living with high confidence.
All of us have passion, hope and confidence.
(Callum Da Costa, Liam Hall, Nicholas Happe, Alfred Hutton and Krishaanth Rajkumar).
Year 12 2022
Thank you to Ms Kierse in the library who has arranged a system for Year 11 students to collect the novel they will study in Term 4 for their first HSC Module. English Advanced students can collect a copy of 1984 and English Standard students can collect a copy of Past the Shallows from the Br Pelin Hall.
English Advanced students who are unable to travel to school may access a copy of their text electronically HERE:
English Standard students who are unable to travel to school may access a copy of their text electronically HERE:
Edmund Rice Writing Club News
The Edmund Rice Writer’s Club was excited to receive the incredible news this month that the talented Year 12 student and Writer’s Club member, Benjamin Hunter, was shortlisted in the prestigious national “What Matters?” writing competition. Thousands of young Australians from all over the country wrote a combined total of 2,741,807 words and submitted their writing to the competition to express what really matters to them, and Ben’s poem “The Middle Ground” was the only Illawarra entry shortlisted in the Year 11/12 category.
Writer’s Club members spent term one focussing on poetry, exploring a range of poems with the goal of submitting their poems to this competition. We are behind Ben all the way and wish him luck in the competition! To read more about the competition and see the other shortlisted entries go to https://www.whitlam.org/what-matters-2021-shortlist. Enjoy his entry here:
The Middle Ground
Edmund Rice College
The Middle ground.
What nostalgic feeling graces my mind
as I speak those three simple words.
The place where discourse is solved, where
dialogues were held between both sides of
the coin of humanity.
Left and right.
The place of mediation,
the place of compromise.
But where is the Middle Ground?
There is none.
The Middle Ground is dead,
and in its grave lies reason.
The land I once knew.
Burnt and partitioned by partisan forces.
The Middle Ground is now a place where
disputes are fought.
Left and the Right
clash on the grave
of the middle ground
spouting synonymous slogans.
The Middle Ground?
No, it is now no-man’s-land,
showered with shells and bullets
from both left and the right
aimed at those in
the opposing trench and those caught in the
Everything beyond their trenchline an enemy,
every silhouette a target,
even those who wish to
remain neutral in the middle ground.
Both sides refuse to bridge the gap,
blaming the other side for their faults.
Both are to blame.
Their squabbles are as
constructive as stating blue and azure
are opposite colours, or arguing
that the world spins, and does not revolve.
There are some, however, who aren’t as
Swept away in the rousing marches
The thunder of the drums
The slogans of their party
They are conscripted by the
generalisation and the peer pressure,
constantly threatened with the fear
of being exiled to the middle ground.
I have dodged the draft from both sides
In my attempt to stay neutral I have
appeared to be allied with
left and the right.
Now I belong nowhere.
Adrift in a world slowly becoming
“us versus them”.
Neutrality seen as complacency.
They say I have no voice,
that I do not speak out.
They are all wrong.
I can speak, but can they hear?
My calls for peace fall on deaf ears,
and my requests for compromise leave
me accused of siding with the other side.
So I tell you this, as you hail me
with shells and shower me with bullets
I will stay in what is left of the middle ground
until it returns.
Whether that takes a day or an eternity.
I will stake my claim in this blasted land,
and declare a hegemony of neutrality.
I will live here and, when my time comes,
I will be buried here.
This much I know.
Senior students who may be considering a career in Journalism are encouraged to explore the opportunity to complete over the summer break one or two subjects from the Diploma of Journalism through J School Journalism Education & Training. Additionally, there is a ‘micro unit’ on offer called ‘News Writing Basics’.
For Year 10 or 11 students who are keen to build some strong foundations for their study of the HSC English Courses, or for Year 12 students who are looking for some extra guidance and motivation to help get them over the finish line, The University of Sydney is offering a range of courses in:
- Essay Writing
- Exam preparation
- The Crucible
- The Tempest/Hag-Seed
- Good Night and Good Luck
- The Craft of Writing
- English Extension 1: Literary Worlds
Information on these courses can be found HERE:
Head of English