Lucia Gelonesi (Year 9) Wins the Secondary Red Room Poetry Object Competition

Last Thursday Lucia was invited to the Powerhouse Museum for the presentation of the Red Room Poetry Object Competition Winners. Lucia won the Secondary Competition for her poem Broken Umbrella. The three winners had a workshop with professional poet Emilie Zoey Baker before a live telecast of the Poetry Object Winners in which each poet recited their work. They then had a private tour of the Powerhouse collection and some of its unusual objects. Lucia gave an impressive recitation of her poem and was remembered by the Red Room organisation for being a Highly Commended entrant in last year’s competition. Her poem was selected from over 2,500 entries received by the competition and we congratulate both Lucia and other SCEGGS entrants on putting their work forward for this competition.

Lucia’s vivid and poignant poem can be read here;

Jenny Bean
English Teacher



The International Competitions and Assessment for Schools - English is Australia-wide and Global and is administered annually by The University of New South Wales.

Of the 346 girls in Years 7-10 who sat the English competition in 2019, 14 received High Distinction Awards (the top 1% of participants), 53 Distinction Awards (the next 10%), 86 Credit Awards (the next 25%) and 25 Merit Awards (the next 10%)

Congratulations to those girls who achieved High Distinctions and Distinctions:

High Distinctions

Year 7 Year 8
Beatrix Rivers Nicola Allen
Ilaria Roncolato Kate Ambrogio
Ruby Cooney
Laura Davies
Samara Foulds
Sienna Monahan
Jemima Louie Smith
Katherine Wardlaw


Year 9 Year 10
Olivia Dennison Maeve Hopper
Emily Wu Charlotte Newton


Year 7 Year 8
Maggie Harper Lydia Bodsworth
Josephine Jarvie Samantha Dawson
Eleanor Lawson Leilani Howitt
Georgina Madsen Alexandra Kuo
Catherine Park Coco Lavigne
Julia Richards Mathilde Leys
Lillian Shields Alice Martin
Simone Turner Jessica Millin
Chiara Weaver Scarlett Moir
Alexandra West Eliza Newton
Jemima Woodman Leyla Ozen
Zi Qi Zheng Mietta Paipetis
Helena Piazza
Angelica Philips
Arella Plater
Ivy Rush
Luella Smith


Year 9 Year 10
Amy Ambrogio Zoe Abicht
Maya Barnett Cassidy Cogin
Clare Crawford Juleena High
Emily Feller Claudia Hunt
Lucia Gelonesi Marie Karantanis
Alice Harper Isabella Machliss
Lucy Juneja Hannah Mavrakis
Laura Lowe Olivia McGrath
Ella McGrath Gretel Payne
Kiara Wijesinghe Olivia Slater
Mary Williams Emily Weaver
Jessalyn Xia
Lynette Zhang

Well done to all.

Marilyn Pretorius
Head of English



For the second year in a row, Lucia Gelonesi, has been shortlisted in the Red Room Poetry Object Competition. Her whimsical poem “Broken Umbrella” personifies an umbrella “forced to hang upside-down like a bat in the airless hallway” in order to explore deeper ideas about the transience of life. We congratulate Lucia on this exemplary achievement; her thoughtful poems are always a joy to read. Red Room will announce the winner of the competition on 28 November; we wish Lucia all the best for this announcement. Her poem can be read at the following link;

Jenny Bean
Acting Head of English



We were delighted to once again see so many students from the Primary and Secondary School enter the prestigious Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards. The theme for this year, “Is Anybody There?” encouraged students to probe a wide range of provocative topics; from refugee and environmental crisis to family relationships. In the Lower Primary section Samantha Cutbush (Year 3) was Commended for her poem entitled “What Do You Do?” Celeste Georgiou (Year 6) was Shortlisted in the Upper Primary section for her Villanelle “The sadness drowns me.” The Villanelle is a very complex poetic form and the judges commented on Celeste’s ability to effectively employ the form of the Villanelle without having her poem sound repetitious.

In the Junior Secondary section Ruby Cooney (Year 8) and Samantha Dawson (Year 8) were both Highly Commended. The judges commented on the “lush imagery and clever structure in Ruby’s poem “Paper Stars” and on the “strong imagery and powerful message” in Samantha’s poem “In the Crater”. Lucia Gelonesi (Year 9) entered a number of poems and was Highly Commended for “Sicilian Music Box” and Shortlisted for “Mothers as Others.” The judges described Lucia’s Shortlisted work as “a cracker of a poem - oozing with confidence and clever use of metaphor.”

We are so proud of all the students who submitted work for this competition. Certificates will be awarded to all participants in Year meetings. The high standard of SCEGGS entries was noted as we were Commended in the Secondary Schools’ Award. Well done to all entrants and their teachers.

Jenny Bean
English Teacher



This year over 70 students from Years 7 – 10 entered the Betty Behan and Gwen Cockell writing prizes. The English Department were delighted to read so many powerful short stories and poems. Students should look out for their work in the Lux magazine released next year as we were able to include extracts from a number of the pieces.

We had so many good entries that we have also Highly Commended students in each competition. The prize winners will be awarded at speech night.

The Betty Behan Memorial Short Story Prize – Junior was awarded to Mathilde Leys in Year 7 for her vivid story “Danse Macabre.” Mathilde drew from her study of Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book” to create an ethereal representation of the Dance of Death. Lucia Gelonesi and Mary Williams, both in Year 8, were Highly Commended for this prize.

The Betty Behan Memorial Short Story Prize - Senior was awarded to Jedda Thorley in Year 10 for her short story “Saltbush.” Her poignant coming-of-age story focuses on Ethan, a young man coping with his mother’s serious illness. Claudia Hunt in Year 9 and Phoebe Masnick in Year 10 were both Highly Commended for this prize.

The Gwen Cockell Prize for Creative Writing was particularly hotly contested. We congratulate Lucia Gelonesi who has been awarded the prize after submitting three of her evocative poems. We have also Highly Commended Laura Davies in Year 7 as well as Kate Brenner and Emily Wu, both in Year 8.

Thank you to all of the students who shared their work. We are very proud of all of our writers.


Marilyn Pretorius
Head of English