AAEGT National Poetry Competition- 2016


National Poetry Competition 2016
National Winners

The Australian Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented (AAEGT) held a national poetry competition as part of Gifted Awareness Week 2016. Exploring the theme ‘What Giftedness means to me’. Poems were judged on the expression of giftedness and the quality of expression, with recognition of both originality and creativity.

The affiliated states and territories received an extensive number of entries, all of very high quality, and reported that awarding places was a very hard decision. State winners moved onto the national level of competition. Congratulations to all involved and thank you for being a part of this competition.

The national winners are as follows:

8 Years and Under
Sabrina Franco

9-12 Years
Lillia Kono

13-17 Years
Thomas Dillon

18 Years and Over
Kerene Garvan


8 years and under: Sabrina Franco

The Girl Who Skipped the Second Grade

There are some good things about skipping Year 2,
Now I will tell them to you.
I get to do much more interesting things,
It’s so much better, I feel like I have wings.
Because I won’t complete school in order,
I don’t have to learn the recorder!

Sometimes I feel sad,
Because some things make me feel bad.
Like when people say “She skipped Year 2!”
And I think “So? Other people have done it too.”
So they walk away.
And I don’t see them for another day.

They often interrupt me while I’ve played,
For I’m the girl who skipped the Second Grade.


9- 12 years national winner: Lillia Kono

Gifts are a strange creature-
Adorned with many wondrous features.
They roam the lands of contemptuous plight;
never cumbersome,
never sorry-
never kindling their fires too bright.

At night they sit and ponder,
Over worlds to which they do not belong,
And at dawn, they tend to their wings and wander,
And caper in the canopies of heaven’s song.

But sometimes gifts can be curses,
And their wings can lose their feathers.
A swordless soldier in the isles of ruthless battle-
The victim of some untaught lessons.

And the gifted will cry its bittersweet tears,
And question their world of doubt,
Until the River of dreams turns to that of heartless hope,
And even the sun seeks out the blithering shadows.

The gift is wordless.
Its once noble warriors have fled,
And what was once a wild beauty,
Is an unfinished fairy-tale of lonesome dread.

For many eves and many dawns,
The gifted will remain behind closed doors,
Lost is the melodious eternity of uncertainty;
until its lantern is redeemed from the ocean churning.

They fish it out together: hand-in-hand-
And the light which they discover at the end of their tether,
Is more brilliant than anything glorifying put together,
Ordained by God; proven by measures.

Now the gift runs in greener pastures.
The trees bare fruit of wisdom,
And destiny seems to be the only future.
Life is an effervescent kingdom.

Laughter and thought fill the sun’s knowing rays,
And every former fear,
Is cast away-

And even in those withered hours,
The gift never fails to recall,
The memory of that second soul,
On that wretched trip through hell’s galore.

For twenty fingers are always better than ten,
And full love is better than love’s bitter remnants.
And so, perhaps a second soul is the best solution,
To nights of forlorn intrusion.

A friend to mend your wings-
To be your vision when you fail to see,
And piece together the lost feathers,
Without any scars or seams.


13-17 years national winner: Thomas Dillon


A boy of few words, often alone
His voice goes unheard, only company, his own
Witty, and clever, beyond what one could stop
Yet in this world’s bucket, it was but a drop
For He failed to relate or ally with others
and felt only alone amongst his sisters and brothers
He had a gift, he was told, although it was much more like coal;
in the absence of companions, he was left not quite whole
No confidence to speak of, self-esteem at a low
It matters only who you are, not what you know
He wished it away, it did his life a disservice
No happiness, no joy, he was only ever nervous
His mother loved him dearly, the apple of her eye
A kiss blown every morning, as she waved him goodbye
Alas she didn’t understand him, god bless her heart
“What does it matter, at least you’re smart!”
Days went by, and so did the years
And with isolation, as did the tears
Lost in a world of ignorant bliss,
Too quiet, too timid, his gift went amiss


18 years and over national winner: Kerene Garvan

The Gifted Drift.

I want to be NORMAL. Neurotypical. Clever. Not outSTANDing.
Tired of this brain that keeps moving, wandering, restless. Always on, never sitting still,
Gifted forums
Gifted blogs
Gifted groups
Gifted awareness
(And yet…)

If my son (six) is selected into the under 9s soccer team, APPLAUSE!
Let them SHOUT from the stands! Well done mate!
Back slapping, loud clapping, trophies, awards
Maybe a write up in the local paper.
Put it on Facebook,
He’ll do well with the bigger kids; they’ll toughen you up, mate!

But he excels in… what?
SIX year olds don’t know chemistry!
Oh yes, he does, I say
(muttering under my breath.)
(Is this mum safe to me? Will she hold my secret?)
(Will she JUDGE him? Judge me?)
Am I a bad mother?
I didn’t MEAN for him to like chemistry.
It was a song. About Elements. And he RAN with it!
Kicked that ball
(made of millions of atoms and molecules, hey mum, did you know polyvinylchloride is a type of plastic?)
into the stands
(embarrassment, almost.)

OF COURSE he can’t study with the nine year olds.
It will be bad for his SOCIAL development!
He needs age peers.
Like minds.
(EXACTLY! I cry, knowing his games are not like six year olds… LIKE MINDS!)
I cry…

Gifted we drifted… caught…
Holding onto each other, alone, dark…
Status update: no thanks.
Hey mate! Tell me the elements!
Mum, those boy were so kind, they forgot their elements, so asked me for help! I told them and helped them. I did well, didn’t I Mum?
Yes mate. We’ll hold each other… as the shouts and laughs subside.
Difference. Belonging. A struggle unrecognised. And yet…
not normal…
(my normal…)


The GAW2016 Sub-Committee would like to thank our judge for undertaking the difficult job of finalising the winners. Kim reports: ‘…It was very much an honour and I was struck by the varied responses as well as the recurring themes. Judging them was extremely difficult as they were all exceptional in their own way and the expressions of giftedness were intensely personal whilst also containing themes universally common amongst gifted young people (and parents). I sincerely wish to thank all of the entrants for sharing with us their joy, anguish, fears, hopes, challenges and creative expression…’


Kim Miller Traditionally an English and Drama teacher, Kim has had a passion for Gifted Education since her final year of university where she volunteered to assist at a GERRIC holiday enrichment program. After continuing to work as a residential assistant for the Talent Search programs during her years as a beginning teacher, she then moved to a full time Gifted Education role in 2004 when she commenced as the Talent Search Coordinator at GERRIC, UNSW. Since coordinating the nation-wide above level testing and accompanying residential programs, Kim has been the Gifted Education teacher at Loreto, Kirribilli and the Gifted Education Coordinator at Trinity Grammar School. Throughout this period she has also run workshops on organisational skills, social skills and leadership through the Australian Gifted Support Centre as well as Social Justice workshops for gifted students through the University of Wollongong. She is also a tutor for gifted and talented students, assisting them to navigate their way through the school system – focusing on stress management, organisational skills, time management, perfectionistic tendencies, breaking down outcomes and understanding the requirements of assessment tasks across subjects. Kim has recently returned to Australia after nearly two years living and working in Vietnam and has now commenced a Master of Social Work (Qualifying) at the University of Sydney.

Thank you to everyone who entered the AAEGT National Poetry Competition celebrating Gifted Awareness Week 2016.