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Wicked Writers: Be The Change 2024 winners revealed

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Wicked Writers: Be The Change 2024 winners revealed

All four winning students have won whole-class or writing group trips…

Michael McCabe, judge and Executive Producer of Wicked:

“We are particularly proud to announce the winners and runners up of the Wicked Writers: Be The Change competition on Earth Day 2024. These outstanding pieces of persuasive writing demonstrate how environmentally conscious young people are, and how strongly they advocate for urgent climate action.”

The winners of the 2024 Wicked Writers: Be The Change writing competition, a collaboration between the National Literacy Trust and the stage musical Wicked, as part of its Wicked Active Learning cultural and social education programme, have been announced.

This year’s theme was the environment, and 1600 children across the UK have made their voices heard about the issues they are passionate about, including climate change, earth and sea pollution, and animal extinction, with the winners announced today, Earth Day 2024 (22 April).

Earth Day is an annual event on 22 April to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First held on 22 April, 1970, it now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by www.Earthday.org including 1 billion people in more than 193 countries. The official theme for 2024 is “Planet vs. Plastics.”

The winner in the 9-11 age group is Sebastian Kesley, 10, from Hiltingbury Junior School in Hampshire who wrote a thoughtful first-person story about the impact of plastic in the ocean on marine life from the perspective of the ocean itself.

Arthur Stock, 10, from Stanford Junior School in Brighton is the runner-up in this category and wrote a moving and informative piece about a lonely turtle caught in a plastic bag, with tips at the end for how people can help to reduce plastic pollution.

The winner in the 11-14 age group is Luo Chen He, 13, from Co-op Academy in Stoke-on-Trent who impressed the judges with a creative tale about the importance of activism and the struggle to change the world.

Samsritha Vakani, 14, from West Bromwich Collegiate, 14, is the runner-up in the older age category with a poem about planet Earth’s two potential futures – one positive and bright, and one destroyed without intervention.

Research from the National Literacy Trust shows that children and young people’s enjoyment of writing is at one of its lowest levels since 2010, holding many back from the potential academic and well-being benefits writing can bring.

According to the charity’s research, giving young people the opportunity to write to support the causes they care most about can be a powerful motivator – demonstrated by the overwhelming response to this year’s Wicked Writers: Be the Change competition and the high quality of the entries.

The judges were M. G. Leonard, award-winning children’s author of Beetle Boy and the Adventures on Trains series; English teacher, writer, and presenter of Holly’s Classroom, Holly King-Mand; Michael McCabe, Executive Producer of Wicked in the UK, and Jonathan Douglas, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust.

Tim Judge, Head of School Programmes at the National Literacy Trust:

“We have been blown away by the amount of impassioned, persuasive essays and stories submitted by pupils this year on the environment. Writing can be great for young people’s wellbeing and this competition shows pupils how they can use their literacy skills to have their voices heard on issues they care about.”

All four students have won whole-class or writing group trips to see Wicked in London, and Luo and Sebastian have also won their classes a workshop with M. G. Leonard, where they will learn how to craft a great persuasive essay or story, and tips on making their voice and passion heard.

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