Pupils put pen to paper to improve world with WIZO’s young writers competition  

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Pupils put pen to paper to improve world with WIZO’s young writers competition  

Jewish News teamed up with WIZO UK to recognise the work of four budding writers named as winners in a storytelling competition

Francine Wolfisz is the Features Editor for Jewish News.

Winners and judges: Loraine Warren,Wizo UK honorary president, Michele Pollock, WIzo UK president, Dylan Milich, Abi Zinkin, Joshua Cohen, Francine Wolfisz, Jewish News features  editor, and Wizo UK chair Ronit Ribak Madari
Winners and judges: Loraine Warren,Wizo UK honorary president, Michele Pollock, WIzo UK president, Dylan Milich, Abi Zinkin, Joshua Cohen, Francine Wolfisz, Jewish News features editor, and Wizo UK chair Ronit Ribak Madari

Four young writers were celebrated for their talents this week after being named the winners in our storytelling competition.

Jewish News teamed up with WIZO UK, now in its centenary year, and asked budding authors to pen their thoughts on making the world a better place.

After receiving an influx of entries from across 17 schools, guest judge and bestselling author Santa Montefiore selected the winners, who were revealed this week.

Jamie Copeland, 16, from The Cherwell School, Oxford, won first place in the secondary school category for his poignant poem, If I Could, I Would!, with Joshua Cohen, 12, from Immanuel College, Bushey, named as runner-up for his short essay on discrimination.

Meanwhile, Abigail Zinkin, nine, from Etz Chaim, Mill Hill, took first place in the primary school category for her “touching and charming” story, The Plastic Carpet.

Dylan Milich, eight, who also attends Etz Chaim Primary School, was named as the runner-up for his poem, Make The World A Better Place!

At a special event held at WIZO UK’s headquarters on Tuesday afternoon, three of the four finalists (Jamie Copeland was unable to attend) received book vouchers for themselves and their schools, as well as a signed copy of Santa Montefiore’s book, The Royal Rabbits of London, and a goodie bag from Hachette Children’s publishers.

WIZO UK honorary president Loraine Warren said: “We are thrilled to see how well the competition has been received by so many schools.”

Four shortlisted youngsters from each category also received a signed copy of Montefiore’s book. They were: Fiona Apaw, 12, Lealands High School, Benjamin Gamsu, 13, Immanuel College, Joseph Martin, 11, Immanuel College, Zack Baker, 14, JCoSS in the secondary school category; and Netanel Berman, 10, Hasmonean
Primary School, Lola San, 11, Rosh Pinah, Rebekah Morrison, 8, Rosh Pinah and Hannah Warren, 10, North London Collegiate, in the primary school category.

The competition was launched in conjunction with WIZO’s £1.8million fundraising drive to help refurbish the charity’s Vocational High School in Jerusalem, also known as WIZO’s School of Dreams.

Located at the Rebecca Sieff Centre for the Family in Jerusalem, the school supports teenagers with severe emotional, behavioural and psychiatric problems and helps prepare them for life as independent and confident young adults.

Winner, secondary:
Jamie Copeland
, 16, Year 11 at the Cherwell School, Oxford

If I could, I would!

If I could, I would put a smile on everyone’s face and place kind words on each and every tongue.

I would replace each negative thought with positivity and teach kindness to the old and to the young.

I would place hope in the hearts of the poor and the lonely, and support them to believe the best is yet, to come,

I would take the guns from the hands of the angry and show them it is possible to live as one.

I would raise the world with tolerance and gratitude, and create a society of peace and tranquillity.

I would show each person how to live in the moment, living each day to the full to the best of their ability.

If I could, I would.

Santa says: “I thought this poem was very well-written with an easy, fluid style. It’s sophisticated too, for a child of his age. I liked the rhythm and the simplicity of it – I also liked the rather wistful ending: ‘If I could, I would…’ because he can’t.”

Runner-up, secondary:

Joshua Cohen, 12, Year 8 at Immanuel College

Joshua Cohen and family

How to Make the World a Better Place

There are so many things I wish I could do to make the world a better place, but if I had to choose one it would be to stop all kinds of discrimination. There are so many different ways that people are discriminated against. I think it is really unfair that people are hated and being discriminated against just because of their race or religion or other beliefs or views.

A lot of discrimination is really because people do not know enough about the religion or race that they are against.  A lot of what they think they know just comes from the news or what they hear other people and their friends say.  They don’t bother to educate themselves. If I could I would make sure that everyone had a good education that taught them how different people live and why they live in this way. I would get them to learn about and accept all the different religions and also learn that the colour of someone’s skin doesn’t make a difference to who they are.

Other people who are discriminated against are people who have a disability. If I could I would make sure that the world was completely accessible for everyone. There would be ramps into all shops and on to trains and buses for people in wheelchairs. There would be Braille writing on all signs for people who cannot see and make sign language something that everyone learns in school so we could all communicate with people who cannot hear.

In conclusion, I think discrimination is unfair and should be stopped. If I had one wish to make the world a better place, I would completely get rid of discrimination. I believe everyone should be able to live freely without people
hating them for invalid reasons.

Santa says: “Discrimination is a very important and relevant topic to write about, and Joshua did a very good job of it. After all, it’s a very sensitive subject. It’s intelligently written and he gets his point across beautifully.”

Winner, primary: Abigail Zinkin, 9, Year 4, at Etz Chaim Primary School

Abi Zinkin and family

The Plastic Carpet

There was a little girl called Charlie. It was her first day at her new school. She walked to school and picked up litter on the way. In her bag she had a reusable bottle of water, and a reusable Tupperware for her snack.

At school, the teacher asked her to introduce herself.
She stood in front of the whole class and read out her list
of all the things she liked to do every day to save the planet.

Some people at the back of the class sniggered at her, and the girls pointed and laughed.

“Miss Snell meant you had to say your name. Not your entire life story,” said Clara, and her whole gang cackled.

Charlie’s face went bright red and she went back to her seat.

At breaktime the girls drank from their disposable bottles, and the boys sucked juice with their plastic straws.

Santa Montefiore: If you are enthusiastic about what you’re writing, it will be infectious. So, when planning your story, make sure you choose a setting that inspires you, characters you enjoy describing and a plotline that excites you.

Charlie had to do something. Then she saw that Clara’s favourite pencil case had pictures of dolphins and pretty fish.

She had an idea. She asked the teacher for permission to do a GRAND THING. Charlie collected as much plastic as she could and with the teacher’s help, filled the school hall with all the plastic rubbish so that it was covered like a carpet.

When the children filed into the hall for assembly, they couldn’t find anywhere to sit because of all the litter. Charlie went on stage and played the PowerPoint she had made with pictures of the ocean filled with plastic and the poor fish who were killed by being trapped in plastic.

The children realised all the straws and plastic bottles had clogged up the ocean and killed their favourite animals.
From then on they all used reusable plastic only and made Charlie their friend.

Santa says: “This was a very original idea and cleverly done. It was very neat and had a very touching, and surprising ending, which I liked a lot. It was well-written and with charm.”

Runner up, primary: Dylan Milich, 8, Year 4 at Etz Chaim Primary School

Dylan Milich and family

Make the world a better place!

I close my eyes and I can ‘see’ a world where
I want to be,

No pollution filling the air, a beautiful world that’s completely fair.

Poverty will drop and happiness will rise

People will be honest and reduce their lies.

I close my eyes and I can ‘see’ a world where I want to be

Animals continue to roam the Earth,

Humans will begin to respect their worth.

Leaves will crunch and trees will sway

The Earth will be in a better way.

I close my eyes and I can ‘see’ a world where I want to be

Pain and suffering will gradually disappear

Peace and love will not be a fear

Everyone will be friendly and kind,

Negative vibes will be left behind.

I close my eyes and I can ‘see’ a world where I want to be

Everyone is listening and you hear no whispering.

A place where everyone is included, filled with love and happiness

One where there is no cruelty or nastiness.

I open my eyes and wear a big smile on my face, now I see the world a much better place.

I hope you enjoyed this piece of writing.

Hearing about a world with no fighting.

A place filled with smiles, laughter and joy.

Written by a kind eight-year-old boy.

Santa says: “I thought this was a very catchy poem. I liked the rhythm of it and the strong sense of the writer’s longing for the world to be
a better place. He mentions all the important things, like love and kindness. And I loved the ending; I think he must be a very kind boy!”

Santa’s top tips for young writers

First and foremost, love what you write. If you are enthusiastic about what you’re writing, it will be infectious. So, when planning your story, make sure you choose a setting that inspires you, characters you enjoy describing and a plotline that excites you. Whether you’re writing about a dark and slimy cave or a beautiful, sun-drenched forest, make sure it really entertains you. Remember, if you’re bored, your reader will be, too.

Santa Montefiore

Second, I’d advise to write for yourself, to entertain yourself specifically, and not to try to tailor your writing to please anyone else.

This is s your work, your voice, your imagination and whatever you write must come from  you. If you worry about what other people may think, you’ll never have the confidence to be bold and brave. Your writing will be timid, restrained and inhibited. Unleash your unique and brilliant imagination and give it free rein.

Third, get it written first, then get it right – don’t work for hours and hours on chapter one, because by chapter 30 you may decide chapter one isn’t great and change the entire thing anyway. Get the story down. All of it. Then go back and polish. Imagine having to put a hole through a mountain. You’d make the hole first, then you’d go back and polish the walls to make them beautiful.

Last, never give up. Most writers suffered rejection before they became successful. And READ GOOD BOOKS!


 Listen to this week’s episode of The Jewish Views podcast! SPECIAL EDITION – Chanukah in the Square!

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