Former Lord Aylmer student awarded bronze in 2022 Commonwealth Essay Competition
On December 8, twelve-year old Penelope Adkins was surprised with an assembly at her former elementary school Lord Aylmer. The assembly was organized to highlight and celebrate her getting awarded Bronze in the 2022 Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition (QCEC).
The QCEC is one of the oldest international writing competitions. It was established in 1883 with the goal of elevating young voices, recognizing achievements, and developing creative writing skills. The 2022 competition saw a record-breaking number of submissions with 26,322 entries. Adkins participated in the under 14 category, Junior awards.
During the assembly, Adkins told the students that the writing prompt was, “Imagine you are a grandparent in 2022. Tell your grandchildren a bedtime story about an inspirational person.” Adkins chose to write about American Author, Helen Keller. Her essay is from the perspective of a grandmother talking to her deaf grandchild about Helen Keller through sign language.
“I wanted to write about someone inspiring that people may not know about,” said Adkins. “She did so many amazing things, defied all the odds and is an inspiration.”
Currently in grade seven at Symmes Junior high school, Adkins says it was during the last school year, in grade six, that her teacher Corinna Chaudhary encouraged her to submit a piece to the competition. During the assembly to celebrate her achievement, Adkins spoke to the other kids about writing and read them her essay.
“I want to be a writer in the future, and I think I can do it,” said Adkins. “I was always passionate about storytelling and writing. My mom says I used to make up stories all the time, like when I saw mountains for the first time and said they were gates that were protecting people from wolves.”
Adkins says that, if she could give any advice to other kids who want to write, it would be, “Just start writing now. Look outside, pick something, and write about it. The more you write, the better you will get.”
Photo: From left to right, Corinna Chaudhary, Lord Aylmer teacher, Mike Dubeau, Director General and Director of School Organization, Amanda Russell, Penelope’s mother Penelope Adkins, Cathy Goldsbrough, Commissioner for Lord Aylmer, Justin Ford, Lord Aylmer governing board member, and Eldon Keon, Lord Aylmer Principal.
Photo: Sophie Demers