Young indigenous writers lead way
SEREMI Gorogo Rawson, an 11-year-old indigenous student at Copmanhurst primary school, is the inaugural winner of the Long Way Home Primary School Writing Competition.
Yesterday at a special school assembly and with her family watching on, the Year 6 student was presented with the winner's certificate and tickets to the Byron Bay Writers Festival Kids Big Day Out.
Seremi's story Until Now was chosen from 135 entries that were received from schools throughout the Clarence Valley.
Grafton writer Claire Aman, as a co-creator and co-judge of the writing competition, made the winner's presentation. MsAman praised Seremi's writing, noting the originality and the almost mystical feel of her story.
Seremi said she was very happy and grateful to win the competition as she liked writing a lot.
One of the main reasons she favours writing is her love of learning new words when researching for her stories. When Seremi includes these new words into her stories, she feels it makes her writing more interesting and exciting.
Writing, though, is not Seremi's only interest. She also has a passion for arts and crafts and is a budding photographer. Other pastimes Seremi likes to undertake include gymnastics and trampolining.
Seremi is the daughter of Danielle Gorogo and Sharyn Rawson from Upper Copmanhurst.
Creativity definitely runs in the family, with Danielle being a talented artist and Seremi's brother Djagali being an innovative musician achieving success on the alternative internet charts - SoundCloud.
Seremi and her family are currently awaiting the results of her scholarship application to attend St Hilda's school at Southport.
Seremi's mum advised that the scholarship application process was extremely competitive and Seremi had already undertaken one interview.
When asked whether she would like to follow up her writing as a career, Seremi replied she would like to explore all her options first.
Whatever Seremi chooses and whatever happens with her scholarship application, it is very likely that Seremi has a big future in front of her.
Ms Aman explained that the writing competition had three categories - primary school, high school and adult.
"The theme for primary students was water, while high school students and adults could write on the theme 'the long way home'.
"Primary students could write up to 150 words, high school students could write up to 500 words and adults could write up to 2500 words."
Ms Aman also advised that the second-placed winner was also a young indigenous person - Lani Cole from St James Primary School, Yamba, whose story is titled She Runs Deep.
Lani's sister, Tayah, scored a highly commended certificate with her story The Ocean Team.
Ruby Donnelly's story The Old Aboriginal Woman was also highly commended.
In her story, Ruby, an indigenous Year 1 student from Baryulgil, retold the story, in her own words, of the creation of the Clarence Valley.
Other students who received highly commended certificates for their stories were Brooke Chapman, Sharlee Cook and Declan McCone.
The competition judges were Erin Brady (coordinator of Long Way Home), Claire and myself.
Organisers are currently in the process of judging the adult section of the writing project.
However, they are already looking to next year, with plans to run the Long Way Home writing project again.
by Seremi Gorogo-Rawson
When I was a kid I never would have imagined anything like this. I never would have thought that it could be possible, but I was a kid then. Sometimes my brother would take me down to the end of the property to look at the beautiful sunset over the river. I used to think it was the prettiest thing ever, but stopped thinking that, when I stopped noticing it.
One time when I was 11, I needed some time out and I didn't know where to go, so I went down to the river. I sat on the rock where I had engraved my name once and I looked at my reflection in the beautiful clear water.
It felt like my face was sinking into the water, the water was draining out or I was just getting a bit dizzy. I want to touch it and fell in. I thought I was drowning, but I wasn't, I was touching the ground. The water I had always known... was gone.
Giinagay Jinggiwahla ("hello" in our first nation languages) is a weekly column written by the indigenous communities of the Clarence Valley covering a variety of topics, opinions and events across our first nation areas Bundjalung, Yaegl and Gumbaynggirr.