Inspired by Chris Hadfield, Esquimalt High teen wins national writing contest

Emma Roberts takes first place in the national A&E Lives That Make a Difference contest

Emma Roberts

Within days of stepping aboard the International Space Station, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield had captivated millions across the globe.

Using social media, a bit of song and live video feeds with hundreds of schoolchildren across the world, Hadfield created a window into life beyond the atmosphere.

It was that incredible reach that inspired Esquimalt High’s Emma Roberts to pen an essay on the inspiring Canadian for the A&E Lives That Make a Difference contest, in which she won first prize against hundreds of submissions across Canada.

“People like the appeal of (Hadfield’s) nerdy science and tech background mixed with the fact he sings and is a good storyteller,” Roberts said. “He was using Youtube and Facebook and Twitter to document his trip, and I thought that was really cool because most people don’t know what it’s like to be in space.”

Her essay describes Hadfield’s global impact through the use of stunning photography from space, where he “emphasized our planet’s awe-inspiring beauty and undeniable fragility.”

In an excerpt from her essay, Roberts said Hadfield’s “perspective of our planet encourages all humans to see ourselves as shared inhabitants of Earth, and reminds us that the planet which we call home is not only invaluable to our own existence but is something worth fighting for.”

Libby O’Connell, senior vice-president of A&E, said many submissions featured Hadfield, and in some ways that complicated choosing a winner.

“He stole the hearts of the student generation, that’s for sure,” she said. “In some ways it made it harder (to choose a winner), but in other ways it gave us a context to look at writing ability across the board because so many people were writing about this individual.”

With her $2,000 prize, Roberts will head to the University of B.C. next fall to study general science. Another $1,000 will go to Esquimalt High and put towards their thriving poetry slam club, said Principal Colin Roberts.

Twelve-year-old Tavania Chichak of Glanford middle school took home the grand prize of $3,000 and coincidentally featured Hadfield in her essay as well.

“(Hadfield) reminded me of a space pioneer because he broke those barriers and that’s what the pioneers did to conquer the land of Canada,” Chichak said.

The annual A&E Lives That Make a Difference Essay Contest is open to Canadian students in Grades 5 to 12 to write an essay someone they believe made a significant impact on Canadian society in the past year.

See livesthatmakeadifference.com for more information.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

-with files from Kyle Slavin

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cancelled cruise ships costs Victoria more than $130 million

Transport Canada bans ships until end of October in response to COVID-19

Point-guard lobs no-look, three-pointer for Oak Bay High video

Trick-shot only took three times, says Oak Bay teen

Saanich residents sound alarm after second owl dies of rat poison

Great Horned Owl found in Kings Park killed by three rodenticides

Phase-by-phase look at how Greater Victoria Public Libraries will reopen

GVPL to quarantine returned material for a minimum of 72 hours before lending again

Langford pitches Westhills as Canadian Premier League soccer hub

Langford could host all eight teams for August matches

VIDEO: Victoria dental staff dance to *NSYNC to promote reopening

Urban Smiles staff ‘want you back’ after closure in response to pandemic

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

B.C. aquaculture farm’s employees sweat it out to raise funds for food banks

For every five minutes of exercise recorded, Cermaq Canada is donating a dollar to local food banks in communities they operate

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Most Read