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Ten Year Old Wins Top Prize in Essay Contest

Media Release

November 16, 2009

Winner Bella Berman with John Franich and John's daughter Shannon.

Memories of orchard life on Sturges Road are at the centre of 10-year-old Bella Berman’s award-winning essay, which took the top prize at this year’s JT Diamond Essay Competition.

Bella was among the winners announced at a special ceremony held in the Waitakere City Council chambers.

For the full results of the contest please see the following document: http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/0911/JTDiamondEssayresults.doc

The Henderson Valley School student’s entry, From past to present: George Ward remembers orchard life on Sturges Road, was judged the best overall essay in the competition with the lucky youngster receiving the Franich Diamond prize of a piece of diamond jewellery.

The judges said Bella’s entry embodied what the competition was all about.

“It is a celebration of West Auckland. The author has discovered a local treasure - another Westie diamond, and in turn has created a taonga for the archives,” said the panel.

Bella enjoyed double success on the night with Henderson Valley School winning the Bullock Trophy for the school with the highest number of place-getters – their third consecutive win.

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Assistant principal Jenny Orsler and Sue Berman, who worked with the students, received the trophy on the school’s behalf.

Eight of the school’s 10 entries received prizes - a first, two seconds, two thirds and the West Auckland Historical Society prize, the Morris prize and the Franich Prize. Laingholm Primary was runner-up.

First place in the student research category went to Jack Queenin from Laingholm Primary who won the student research category for On the right track! A story of the Waitakere Tramline

The adult memories category was won by Louise Maich with Kathleen Donaldson remembers Franks Store, penny ice-creams and other stories while Elayne Wilson took out the adult research category for her essay on the history of Glen Eden Baptist Church.

A new award this year was donated by local identities Jack and Val Morris for the best essay using historic or new photographs. The winner was Toni Robinson of Henderson Valley School for her essay -The changing face of Henderson Valley.

Now in its seventh year, the competition is run by the Waitakere Library and Information Services and the West Auckland Historical Society and honours the work of John (Jack) Thomas Diamond, who over many years captured and recorded information about West Auckland. His archive is the core of the of local history collection at Waitakere Central Library.

Entrants were encouraged to record their own, or someone else’s personal recollections, or to undertake original research, using primary resources such as photographs, personal interviews or oral histories held in the library and West Auckland Historical Society Mill Cottage collections.


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