Standing up for Canberra

Marist College Student off to Gallipoli

An outstanding young student from the ACT is one of eight students who have won the Simpson Prize, and will be awarded the opportunity to attend commemorative ANZAC Day services at Gallipoli.

Member for Canberra Gai Brodtmann today congratulated Gene Schirripa from Marist College, the ACT winner of the Simpson Prize - a popular national competition which honours John Simpson Kirkpatrick, famous for his bravery under fire while rescuing his fellow soldiers at Gallipoli in 1915.

Ms Brodtmann said Gene’s essay looked at how the ANZAC legend promotes “the remarkable efforts made by ordinary Australians throughout their everyday lives” and the ANZAC heroes at Gallipoli who “will always hold a special place in Australia’s history”.

“I am delighted that Gene has won the Simpson Prize for the ACT, with his imaginative and original entry,” Ms Brodtmann said.

“I am sure that his prize, to attend ANZAC Day services at Gallipoli, will be a life-changing experience that he will never forget.

“I would also like to congratulate Brenton Reiss, who was this year’s runner up for the ACT Simpson Prize.

Ms Brodtmann said Brenton’s essay looked at Cyclone Tracy in Darwin in 1974 and the war in Afghanistan today to see the ANZAC legend being demonstrated by both civilians and our armed forces.

“I am proud that ACT students continue to build and foster a living connection with our past, making sure that our history is never forgotten.”

The Minister for School Education, Peter Garrett, presented the eight winners and eight runners-up with their prizes today.

“The Simpson Prize is awarded to the most outstanding explorations of the ANZAC story, which this year looked at how the ANZAC legend has changed over the years,” Mr Garrett said.

“With over 600 entries this year from Year Nine and Ten students all over the country, it’s clear that this episode in Australian history is still part of who we are today.”

In essays or audio-visual presentations, students looked at the ANZAC legend in World War One, World War Two, the 1960s and more recently, and considered the representation of the ANZAC legend in popular film.

The winners and runners-up each receive a medallion to celebrate their achievements and take part in a special two-day Canberra study program which includes visits to Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial and the National Museum of Australia.

The Australian Government provided $186,000 in funding for the 2011 Simpson Prize.