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‘I wanted to capture a moment when everyone feels united’: Two Highgate School pupils scoop national poetry prizes

PUBLISHED: 15:06 20 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:16 20 April 2020

Year 10 student Liv Goldreich, 15. Picture: Highgate School

Year 10 student Liv Goldreich, 15. Picture: Highgate School

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Two Highgate School pupils have been crowned winner and runner-up of a national poetry competition.

Motley Crew, by Liv Goldreich. Picture: Highgate SchoolMotley Crew, by Liv Goldreich. Picture: Highgate School

Of over 2,400 entries across the UK, winner Liv Goldreich, 15, and runner-up Lila Dhiri, 13, were picked out as standout performers in Words of Unity.

The competition, launched by Global Acts of Unity earlier this year, asked young people aged 11-18 to express what unity means to them.

The contest encouraged children to explore its meaning, strengthen their barriers against intolerance, and become closer as a community within the school and beyond.

Liv said: “For me, poetry is a way to process thoughts and feelings.

Cake, by Lila Dhiri, 13. Picture: Highgate SchoolCake, by Lila Dhiri, 13. Picture: Highgate School

“I chose to write about London; I’m proud and lucky to be a Londoner and in my poem I wanted to capture a moment when everyone feels united.

“It’s sometimes difficult to observe moments of togetherness and yet, short moments of solidarity are strangely beautiful and meaningful.”

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Lila said: “I’ve always loved writing poetry, which is why I was so excited to hear that our school was entering into this competition.

“I’m very happy to have been chosen as a runner up, as this competition has such a moving theme.

“My poem was inspired by how a seemingly random combination of ingredients and timing can come together to make a perfect cake, analogous to the seemingly random ‘ingredients’ we all need to feel united with others.

“Especially during these uncertain times, when we all need to feel united.”

Liv received £100 of vouchers and £500 of supplies for her school for her first-place poem ‘The Motley Crew’, and Lila Dhiri was gifted £50 worth of vouchers for her poem ‘Cake’.

Words of Unity was launched by Mike Haines OBE, who has dedicated his life to promoting unity, tolerance, and understanding, especially among young people, since the murder of his brother.

He judged the competition alongside Imogen Russell Williams, children’s book critic and poet, and British-Cypriot poet Anthony Anaxagorou.

Mr Haines said: “Reading these poems has been an honour for me and one that I have enjoyed from start to finish.

“I was curious to understand what unity meant to our young people and this has given me an incredible insight to read and hear it in their own words.”


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