Young people from across western Sydney have used the Youth Voices COVID-19 Video Competition to grab the attention of their friends, schools and communities and tackle the pandemic.
Prize winners from western Sydney, along with winners from around the state, were announced on Monday 18 October in an online ceremony attended by over 110 people.
Students were invited to submit a short video entry addressing one of three topic areas including COVID-19 vaccination, looking after your wellbeing during the pandemic or tackling COVID-19 misinformation, with 84 entries – including 54 entries from western Sydney – being received.
First place in the western Sydney competition, a $500 prize, went to Bridie O’Kelly, year 12 student at Richard Johnson Anglican College Oakhurst, with her entry A COVID Acronym.
“I’d like to thank the Prevention Education and Research Unit (PERU) for recognising the need for innovative strategies to spread health and wellbeing information. Thank you for empowering the youth of Sydney to have a voice during the pandemic,” the year 12 student said.
Second place (a $300 prize) went to Thomas Sahlieh, a year 11 student at Kellyville High School, with Looking After Your Wellbeing and third place (a $200 prize) to Sonya Clarke, a year 7 student at William Clarke College Kellyville, with Get the Jab.
Prizes for the winning entries were generously donated by Australian Medical Association NSW, and the Blacktown and Hills Medical Practitioners Associations respectively.
“I know the doctors and nurses of our hospitals value this support. Health is not just about sick people coming through the door – we also need to help the community to be able to improve their health, so it’s really important for events like this to occur,” Graeme Loy, chief executive of Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD), said of the competition.
Blacktown Girls High School were awarded $2,000 towards a water refill station for being the western Sydney school with the highest number of entries. Twelve other entries were awarded prizes for outstanding achievements across categories including critical thinking, creativity, courage, care and video concept.
The 2021 Youth Voices COVID-19 Video Competition for high school students aged 12 to 18 was organised by WSLHD’s PERU in partnership with the School of Population Health UNSW.
“Adolescents are more connected to media and social media than any other age group and often find it hard to make sense of the COVID-19 messages that they’re exposed to, which is why we wanted to raise youth voices with this competition,” said Professor Smita Shah, Director of PERU.
“I thank every single young person for raising their voice and the effort that went into their entries and PERU’s Kym Rizzo Liu who coordinated the competition.”