The Year 6 student at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Primary Caringbah placed first in the 2017 NSW Storytelling competition with his work A bully is just another person in the crowd.
Run by the Australian Storytelling Guild NSW, the competition asks students in Years 5 and 6 to write an original short story and submit a video recording of themselves reciting their work between two and six minutes long.
Zach was shortlisted to recite his story live at the finals in Lewisham on June 17, and was awarded $150 prize money along with the winner’s title. Classmate Sienna Chamoun also received a highly commended for her story The Enchanted Staircase.
Zach is part of the Literacy stream of the Newman Selective Gifted Education Program run at the school, which caters for students who are gifted and talented in areas including Science, Mathematics, writing, literature, and Visual Arts.
In his complex narrative, he offers a tale about verbal bullying at school and the self-doubt that echoes the taunts.
“My story was about bullying and racism,” he said. “I wrote it because I’m very passionate about how we should stop bullying and racism and want to help.
I like the rewarding feeling after writing a good story and the process.– Zach O’Hara
“It took a while to memorise it but writing it wasn’t that difficult. I felt really accomplished.
“It [the competition] was a really good experience and I hope that everyone else gets a chance to do what I did. It was really fun.
“I like the rewarding feeling after writing a really good story and the process, learning a lot and getting a larger vocabulary to help me later on in life.
“In class we learn a lot of structure and the seven steps to writing success. It helps us a lot with NAPLAN and everything else.”