Congratulations to the Oxford Australian Children’s Word of the Year Winners

The school bell has sounded, and it’s time to reveal the winning entries for the Oxford Children’s Word of the Year 2019!

We received hundreds of incredible entries this year, and we would like to extend our gratitude and admiration to all students and teachers involved.

While ‘Bravery’ was the winning word this year, it is important to highlight words that have significant meaning to Australian students today. This year, recurring and significant words were ‘future’ and ‘hope’. These words were often used in conjunction with ‘bravery’ to outline what is possible if we can remain courageous in the face of adversity. 

The winning entries for this year demonstrate bravery, future, and hope. In his commentary, Professor James Arvanitakis states, ‘both the concepts of hope and resilience are not passive but active: they emerge and are reinforced when we undertake actions that can have a positive effect on the world around us.’ The winning entries, along with hundreds more we received this year, indicate that Australian primary students actively choose to be brave, and have a strong desire to improve the world around them for the benefit of all of us.

Read extracts from the winning submissions below. For more information, including the judges’ comments and social commentary, download the Oxford Australian Children’s Word of the Year 2019 Summary Report here.


2019 Winner, Prep

Jesse John Dickerson, Charles Weston Primary School

Word: Adventure

Once there was a boy who only lived with his Mum in a very Old house. It had scraps of metal. He was born in the 1960s, every day the house would fall apart more and more. Metal scraps of wood and junk would peel and tumble off the old house. Looking at the piles of bits and bobs gave the boy an idea! Maybe he could take the junk and recycle it by making it into something new!

2019 Winner, Year One

Charlotte Knight, Encore Speech and Drama Studio

Word: Gymnastics

Emma loved to swing on the bars at gymnastics. All her class mates and teacher, Miss Ella think she’s the best in the class. But one day a new girl, Mia comes to gymnastics. Mia was on the board when Emma saw her do a backflip. Emma said to her, ‘I can do that.’ Mia landed softly and said, ‘Okay then show me.’

Emma couldn’t do a backflip because she was too scared instead she fell off. Mia laughed and said ‘you can’t do a backflip.’ She told everyone in the class that Emma has fallen. They all thought Emma was the best now. This made Emma sad. She kept practising until she finally did a backflip. Everyone e in the class clapped and told her she was better than Mia again. Emma said ‘I don’t care if I’m the best. I’m not scared to do a backflip anymore.’

2019 Winner, Year Two

Disha Pravin, Truganina P-9 College

Word: Adaptability

I think the word adaptability is important in life because I have adapted to a lot of places. I was born in Singapore and was there till I was 3 years old. I went to 3 year old kinder and made lots of friends. I even did my very first stage show. Then one day my parents said ‘we are moving to India’. I was very sad because I missed my friends. When we moved to India there was massive floods and our house was flooded. We temporarily moved to my friend’s house. We suffered a lot because my sister had ear infection, there was power outage for many days and we had very less groceries. I noticed how people were suffering. After that we moved to Sydney and I went to 4 year old kinder. I met my dad after a few months. I enjoyed the new place, new friends. When my parents said we are moving to Melbourne. But this time I was happy and ready because I knew change is always good. I learnt to adapt to new people, places and things.

2019 Winner, Year Three

Molin Yu, Camberwell Girls Grammar School

Word: Bravery

Today I went to the snow. I was scared but I didn’t care. I am a very brave girl, I know it in my heart. I use the word bravery every day in my life.
Today is competition day. I have trained every weekend leading up to now and today is the big day. I am feeling as nervous as a pianist about to play a piece of music in a grand hall but I remember I am a brave girl.
I am in race number 4 so I have to watch the other races until my turn. I HAVE ONLY ONE CHANCE!……
…… NO! Wait I’m not scared I am brave. Now it is race number 4. It is my turn to race 6 other people.  Ready, Set and …….. GO!  The race has began.

2019 Winner, Year Four

Timothy Thomas Kannampuzha, Thomas Mitchell Primary School

Word: Pollution

‘Timothy’ that was mom’s final tone. ‘Pick up this garbage and mess before you get lost in it.’ Timothy was too busy with his new game. ‘All the junk could find their way themselves to the garbage spot’ he thought. Timothy was so engrossed in his play he didn’t realize that time was flying. ‘Timothy you need to clean up this mess before it becomes too late, your room is getting polluted’, his mom’s calm but sorrowful voice came up the stairs.

‘Fine’ with a sigh Timothy got up from the couch. There were plastic wrappers all around, plastic bottles of all sorts lying there. Broken glass, tin cans, pizza cartons. Take away containers with rotten food, paper bits, used batteries, bubble wrap etc. filled his room.

He grabbed a garbage bag and stuffed waste randomly without sorting. Suddenly there was a loud groan and the black garbage bag started growing in size. It grew to the size of his room and gave a (sic) ear splitting roar. ‘OMG – I made a monster’. The monster was made up of all wastes; the food, plastics, recyclables-all mixed, it looked totally polluted. Mom’s tearful voice came up again. ‘Didn’t I warn you that it would get too late.’ The monster grabbed Timothy and vanished into thin air.

Timothy is us humans, mom represents Mother Nature and the monster is the pollution done by us humans. When we don’t listen to the warnings given by Mother Nature, pollution ends up destroying life. Take action and care for your nature. Pollution is some humans can control.

2019 Winner, Year Five

Amelia Gibson, St Therese Catholic Primary School

Word: Women

When we fall down, we fall as one.
When we stand tall, we reach up to the sun.
When we strive for change, we never back down.
And if it’s between men and women we get thrown to the ground.

But now striving for is thought of as weak.
Equality is now a word we can’t speak.

They think they have silenced us, but we are saving our voice,
For when we arrive they will be deafened by our noise.
We will tell them that we’ve had enough of their hate,
We must have a say before it’s too late.

2019 Winner, Year Six

Bethany Eve Rodaughan, St Therese Catholic Primary School

Word: Future

Close your eyes…
Escape to a land of colour beauty and life. You might be at the Great Barrier Reef or the Amazon jungles. But wherever you are, find its beauty, embrace it. Then imagine it was all gone. The reef could be white from global warming or the fish could be dead or sick from pollution. We all try our hardest to push this fact away, but it is happening, our world is dying but we can do something about that.

All of these problems have more factors to them and they are getting worse and worse. Mathematically we can save our world completely, but we can improve it by a lot more. Our future could be a horrible mess with no animals and polluted air. Our future is in our hands, let’s not throw it all away.

2019 Winner, Class Prize

Melbourne Girls Grammar – Year 3 Teacher: Natalie Race

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