A Shepparton secondary school student has taken top prize in Victoria for her essay focusing on the service of Australians in World War I.

Federal Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum, and Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications, and Regional Education, Bridget McKenzie, congratulated Anna Howell from Goulburn Valley Grammar School for winning the Simpson Prize.

Anna was among the state and territory winners addressed by Senator McKenzie and His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley at an online presentation ceremony at Parliament House today.

The Simpson Prize, a national competition for year 9 and 10 students, encourages participants to explore what the Anzac spirit means for Australia.

“This year’s winners and runners-up were selected from more than 800 entrants nationally who wrote essays or prepared audio-visual presentations to the question: ‘How do lesser known stories from the Western Front expand our understanding of the Australian experience of the First World War?’,” Senator McKenzie said.

“The Anzac legacy is in good hands with the impressive quality of entries by the students.

“I congratulate everyone who entered the competition for continuing to honour and acknowledge the efforts of those who gave so much for our country during the World War I.”

Mr Drum said Anna’s essay explored the role of the lesser-known heroes of the war, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander soldiers, the important role of stretcher-bearers, and the record keepers and archivists who worked in the Central Registry.

“The Goulburn Valley community is proud having one of their own recognised for an exceptional job in honouring our Anzacs,” Mr Drum said.

“I congratulate Anna and wish her all the best with her future academic endeavours.”

Winning students from each state and territory received a $5000 information technology package.

The Federal Government has supported the History Teachers’ Association of Australia to organise the running of the Simpson Prize since 1998.

Mr Drum encouraged local students to participate in next year’s Simpson Prize which will address the question” ‘To what extent have the Gallipoli campaign and the Western Front overshadowed other significant aspects of Australians’ experience of the First World War?’

Entries are now open and close on November 5. For more information, go to simpsonprize.org

ENDS

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