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NCEA Writing Competition Hits Students in The Funny Bone

The words ‘voluntary NCEA writing competition’ is enough to send most students running for the hills. Or at least back to Facebook. However, one novel approach is working.

Launched in May, the NCEA Comedy Writing Competition has quickly become a highlight of many students’ weeks, not to mention one of the most popular high school writing competitions in the country.

In its first four weeks, the competition has received 415 entries from students, a number that is growing daily.

LearnCoach, a free NCEA tutorial site, has organised the competition. “The modern world demands engaging, insightful and concise writing,” says LearnCoach CEO, Dave Cameron. “And short-form comedy is one of the most powerful ways to communicate.”

“Good comedy writers often get told off for being silly at school. But the world loves good comedy!” says competition organiser, Dean Watson. “So, instead, we wanted to pay students $50 and share their work with thousands of others.” As a comedy writer, working for TV shows like 7 Days, Watson appreciates how supporting young writers is essential. “We want to encourage students to develop their skills, not shy away from them.”

Theo, one of the first ever winners of the competition, described the experience as, “The best $50 I’ve ever made.”

Winners have emerged from around the country. Theo is from Wellington College; Kirstin,is from Westlake Girls High School in Auckland; Connor is from Napier Boys High School; and Becky is from Tokomairiro High School in Milton.

So what does a winning one-liner look like?

Primary School: Miss 3 months of school to go on holiday - doesn't fall behind

High School: Miss one period of calculus - fails entire year

Achieved: Can sneeze in an exam at a relevant time

Merit: Can sneeze with perceptive timing

Excellence: Can sneeze while pondering the origin of a sneeze

NCEA is more boring
than this haiku
ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh


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