Young people 13-18 years were asked to consider: Who in the world today is doing something about inequality, injustice, exclusion and environmental degradation? What can they teach us? The theme was based on a quote from young climate campaigner Greta Thunberg who has said, “no one is too small to make a difference”. She and many others internationally stand out for their mission to create a more just, peaceful and sustainable world.
The British competition – articles and images – attracted 156 entries from 24 schools. They were judged by panels of media experts who praised the high quality of all the entries shortlisted: Ruth Gledhill (Multi-Media Editor at The Tablet), Josephine Siedlecka (Founder and Editor of Independent Catholic News), Daisy Srblin, (Director of the Catholic youth social action charity Million Minutes) and James Trewby (Columban Education Worker).
“The quality of entries blew me away and I was amazed at their energy and thoughtfulness,” said James Trewby, Columban Education Worker in Britain.
In Britain, Jessica Saxon of St George’s College in Weybridge wrote the winning article about US politician and human rights campaigner Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, described by Daisy Srblin as “a barnstorming piece of writing” and by Ruth Gledhill as “a powerful article.”
Jessica herself says, “only action by those who are brave enough – people like AOC and the person I would like to be – can we encourage young minds to advocate for equality of everyone.”
The runner up was Mahi Sikan of Thomas More School in Bedford, who wrote about an Afghani woman on a mission to improve the healthcare of her community in very difficult circumstances. The article, “reminded us of the millions of people who do amazing work, without fame and acclamation”, according to Daisy Srblin.
Ella Bothwell of St Richard Gwyn in Flint and Scarlett Peart-Lapidge of Bishop Thomas Grant in London were joint third. Ella’s article on David Attenborough was described by Jo Siedlecka of Independent Catholic News as, “a really well written, mature piece combining a profile of David Attenborough with good summary of Catholic Social Teaching with references to Laudato Si’ and Fratelli Tutti.”
Scarlett’s focus on Margaret Mizen was described as “a powerful account, with first hand reflections on the ways in which the Mizen family, specifically Margaret Mizen, turned their grief over the murder of their son into something powerful and hopeful, and created real change as a result.”
The Columbans wish to thank all the young people who entered the 2022 competition.