Students at Manakau School are showing they have impressive writing skills.
The teacher of Huia class (Year 7/8) Lorne Singer says he’s lucky to have an engaged class of many talented students who learn from each other as much as from himself.
“I have a number of young writers who are extraordinarily talented and writing at a level that would do well at higher secondary school levels,” Lorne says.
Francesca Dale-Low, Austin Kendrick and Tane Thomsen stood out when the class was asked to produce some creative writing. Lorne sent several samples to Ōtaki Today.
“There are two samples in particular from one student [Austin] that I would like to share. It is fascinating that a 12-year-old has formed such strong feelings about what it is he perceives some politicians to be like [see below]. I agree with many of his sentiments.
“He has also written about a Covid experience using a ‘show not tell’ technique that we have been working on in relation to moment in time writing.”
Ōtaki Today was impressed enough to reproduce some of the samples (this page), and editor Ian Carson visited the pupils at school.
Austin, Tane and Francesca said they weren’t sure if they would have a writing career, but all being aged only 12, there’s plenty of time and new writing to be done yet. As enthusiasts and competitors in various activities, their sporting skills appeared to excite them more at this stage of their lives.
They all said, however, that they enjoyed the experience of writing.
“I enjoy it, but we’ll see where it goes,” Tane said.
Fransesca said she enjoyed the wide scope of creativity possible with writing. And Austin said:
“You can be alone with your computer and write whatever you want.”
By Tane Thomsen
A trickle of slimy green water comes from a gash in the lifeless concrete roof. I felt like a rat, hiding from impending doom in my subterranean den. A lone candle flickered like a leaf in the wind, this is my only light. Life is no longer measured in years, every minute feels like it could be my last. A crusty loaf of bread is the only food that I have left, a rusty brown jug holds my only water. Only a few days ago I was playing in the golden brown fields of wheat, and now I’m trapped, buried alive by a pile of twisted metal and jagged concrete. My only hope is rescue, but in a city suffering so much destruction, rescue seems a long way off.
(About a child in the ruins of Mariupol, Ukraine.)
By Austin Kendrick
The reasons you give are useless
Abuseful and distrustful
It’s a lie and you know it
Or try and hide it
You have me divided
Your fake morals
You’re a phony
Wearing a disguise
I believed you
Well I tried
Now I want to see you cry
You’re a politician
Who says let cut down emissions
Stop abusing your position
Maybe work on living conditions not
When your enemies start dissin’
But your morals are fake
And your life is a lie
Put on your mask
Wear your disguise
See the humanity in our eyes
And tell us all your lies.
Tell us why you’re perfect
Why you’re worth it
Worth a try
Tell us why you should be no1
The top dog
Hear us ask you questions and get indirect reply
Listen to the accusations
and then proceed to deny
Your truths are lies
Your rights are wrong
Your fake morals kept intact
So once again I’ll tell you to tell the truth
And tell us why you shouldn’t be sacked
So politician here’s a mission to end your addiction to power
And to greed
Stop lying and saying that you’re trying
To stop watching us dying and show us what we need.
By Francesca Dale-Low
Crunch. The shiny red skin had broken. A satisfied shiver ran through my body. My smile was evident, I wasn’t trying to hide it. I was leaning over the fence, watching and observing, as it nudged through the juicy ripeness, contained in a ripe red skin, that sparkled like the sun on the sea. Peaceful sun-rays gently shine down on my face, that was contorted into a wide grin. The animal was finished eating and it wanted more, so I gave it more. I was happy here, I could stay here forever.
(About feeding a pig at an apple orchard.)
Farewell, below, is a collaborative poem by a five-person group of 11-12 year olds at Manakau School. The writing challenge was to construct a poem based around three randomly selected words within 30 minutes. Before this the class discussed the power of rhyme, rhythm and repetition. The words were farewell, jungle and ranch. This group decided to base their poem around climate change.
Sea levels risin’
Rain is peltin’
Ice caps meltin’
Where will this lead?
It ain’t fleetin’