Year 10 student Tristan Clonan was recently awarded the Main award for the Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Prize 2019-20.

Tristan attended a virtual award presentation where he listened to the Victoria Minister for Veterans and an ex-soldier who spoke of her experience as a soldier and the importance of remembering and celebrating Australia’s military history.

Tristan heard of the competition through his teachers Mr Gerard Macklin and Mr Brendan Bawden, and was encouraged to enter into the prize. He was shortlisted along with 40 other students and was invited in February this year to attend the Shrine of Remembrance to participate in a selection and presentation day.

The Premier’s Spirit of the ANZAC competition encourages students to dive deep into Australia’s war history. The competition is judged by a selection panel and the of the three prompts to explore, Tristan chose to represent the perspectives and experiences of Australians in war.

“I entered a poem about WW1 which talks of a young boy that snuck away to go to war, who then died on the battlefield of Gallipoli,” he said.

“I then took it one step further, as I am passionate about the piano, I chose to also create a composition to be edited together as a video, where I narrate the poem to the piano music.”

Tristan was one of ten students from all around Victoria who received the Main Prize consisting of a $3,000 scholarship to go towards study related expenses. He is the third Damascus student who has won the Main Prize. A number of other Damascus students have been shortlisted and received Regional prizes.

“On a normal year, award recipients would have travelled overseas to Singapore and Vietnam, but I think it is a good compromise in what has been a really challenging year.”

“It was amazing to be recognised in such a way, and I feel very grateful for the opportunities I have been given,” he said.