New records were set this year with the number of entries and the number of schools participating in the annual Te Awamutu Rotary Essay competition.
New schools this year were Te Awamutu Intermediate and Hauturu Primary with Ōhaupō Primary providing yet again the most number of entrants and winning seven out of the 13 awards.
The judges were challenged by the number of essays to read and with choosing the winners as the standard of writing was very high.
Covid-19 featured in several essays detailing challenges and encouraging outcomes for families. There were heart-warming stories and tales with a touch of mystery.
Senior prize winner Ekam Kaur Minhas of Ōhaupō School detailed what happened during lockdown in her entry.
Ekam described the effect the lockdown had on their family who own the local Ōhaupō dairy, as they tried to keep safe during Covid-19 but she particularly focused on the emotional trauma for her grandparents who were holidaying with them from India and still have not been able to return because of the virus.
Ekam observed the effect on her grandparents each day as they read the news with the gradual realisation that they could not go home to their daily lives for some time.
Her grandparents were in the audience to see her win, which Ekam decided was the real bonus of the lockdown for her, getting closer to her grandparents.
Other children wrote of family times and having to do school work at home and one wrote of a new sister born.
Some essays were factual and others were imaginative.
Peter Robertson, co-ordinator of the competition, was delighted to award children with their prizes that were generously donated by Murray Green of Te Awamutu Paper Plus.
Each year Te Awamutu Rotary Club gives monetary and book voucher prizes to winners, placegetters and schools for an essay which can be up to 800 words long and the children read them in public on the awards night.
The prizes were formally presented in front of a large audience at the Methodist Church in Bank St.
Award winners for 2020:
5-6-year-olds: 1st place Emily Cribb, Ōhaupō School; 2nd Israel De Vries - Ōhaupō School; 3rd Niamh Hinchcliffe - Te Awamutu Primary School.
7-8-year-olds: 1st Lara Hollinshead - Ōhaupō School; 2nd Kate Davenport - Ōhaupō School; 3rd Sophie Penny - Pekerau School.
9-10-year-olds: 1st Pokaia Heke - Ōhaupō School; 2nd equal Natalee Gower - Kōrakonui School and Bayley Kerr - Hauturu School.
11-years plus: 1st Ekam Kaur Minhas - Ōhaupō School; 2nd Arwen Millward -Pirongia School; 3rd equal Faith Still - Te Awamutu Intermediate and Jaxon Buik - Ōhaupō School.