A powerful piece of creative writing depicting the pain caused by racist bullying has taken the overall prize in this year’s Arts and Minds awards.
The winning piece – entitled Who Am I? – was written by Rameta Ramanen, a year 7 student from Henrietta Barnett School in north London.
The competition, organised by the NASUWT, uses art and creative writing to encourage students to promote and celebrate racial equality and diversity in our schools.
Guest judge, television presenter Gok Wan, selected Rameta’s piece as the overall winner from among the 13 finalists in this year’s competition. The 12-year-old also won the individual secondary creative writing award.
Mr Wan said: “This piece really does resonate with me. When I was reading it I was transported to me being a child again. Every single one of those words took years off me and the voice came through really strongly. It was beautifully crafted and very carefully written. It was so honest that it made me question the world that I am in now.”
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, added: “This thought-provoking entry really sums up the competition’s message of celebrating equality and diversity in a very clear and striking way.”
The competition, which is in its 10th year, is supported by SecEd and our sister title Primary Teacher Update and this year saw more than 1,000 entries submitted.
Among the 13 finalists were art and creative writing entries from primary, special and secondary schools across the UK. There were nine secondary-age finalists in total, including two entries from special schools.
A group of seven students from Calthorpe Special School in Birmingham were recognised for their artwork entitled Cultural Celebration, while a group of 16 students from years 7, 8 and 9 at Woodbridge Park Education Service in Middlesex were awarded for their artwork, Woodbridge Diversity Project.
Other secondary winners included Isla Atay, a year 9 student from King Edward VI High School for Girls in Birmingham, who won the Anne Frank Poetry Award, which celebrates work inspired by the life of the young Holocaust victim. Isla’s piece was entitled Dearest Death. Elsewhere, Carys Johns, a year 9 pupil from Glan Afan Comprehensive School in Port Talbot, won the individual secondary artwork category for her entry Think Before You Speak.
Ms Keates added: “Pupils and their teachers have evidently worked very hard to produce such highly imaginative entries, which came up with new responses to the issues of diversity and equality.”
Each winning school received £350 per category and every winning child received a gift voucher. The overall winning school got £1,000. Other supporters of Arts and Minds include VSO, Love Music Hate Racism, The Anne Frank Trust, Unite Against Fascism, Think Global and Youth Music Theatre. For more information, visit www.nasuwt.org.uk/artsandminds
Arts and Minds 2013: Secondary-age winners
Cultural Celebration by key stage 4 and 5 students from Calthorpe Special School, Birmingham
Woodbridge Diversity Project by year 7, 8, and 9 students from Woodbridge Park Education Service in Middlesex
Think Before You Speak by Carys Johns, a year 9 student at Glan Afan Comprehensive School, Port Talbot
Brick Lane – The Heart of Diversity by Harriet Compson, a year 9 student at Redhill School, West Midlands
Come Together Right Now! Jolie Ince, a year 10 student at Ponteland High School, Newcastle upon Tyne
Who Am I? by Rameta Ramanen, a year 7 student at Henrietta Barnett School, London (overall winner)
Dearest Death by Isla Atay, a year 9 student at King Edward VI High School for Girls in Birmingham (Anne Frank Poetry Award winner)
If I Was To Say by Lydia Brown, a year 9 student from King Edward VI High School for Girls, Birmingham
Cultural Diversity by Georgina Burrows, a year 9 student from Ellowes Hall Sports College, West Midlands
Who am I? (an extract) by Rameta Ramanen I hear them mock meEvery day, time and time againTaunting me about everythingHow I look, how I dress, what I do I don’t fit in anywhereToo light to play with the black girlsToo dark to play with the whitesWhen will there be a timeA time when we are the same? I’ve heard what they sayThe cruel remarks, the cruel namesAnd for what reasons?Because I’m neither one nor the otherI thought this would make me specialExcept it’s the complete opposite She’s half coloured, half right, half caste, half finished What’s that supposed to mean?That I’m not finished?That I’m not done?That I’m not complete?I’m not allowed?
Dearest Death by Isla Atay She was thereThey were thereAnd they lived it
Lonely, frightenedCovered in darknessThey ran… and hid
She is known by manyHer diary as her friendA memory from a better time and place
Yet, what normality you hearA strong, wilful childBut, a child born into a cruel time
She, whose cry was muffledDrowned outIs now one resonating voice through time
Too late to save themThose she loveAnd they that lived
But not too late to teach us
CAPTIONS: (from top): Rameta Ramanen with her winning piece Who Am I?, Jordan from Calthorpe Special School with Cultural Celebration, secondary winners Carys Johns, some of the students from Woodbridge Park Education Service, awards judge and presenter Gok Wan, and Anne Frank Poetry Award winner Isla Atay