Hope, a poem by Ravin Rathnayake

Ravin Rathnayake, a Year 8 student at Haileybury College Edrington, has won the Student Poetry Competition in the Years 7-8 Category for his poem, Hope. Here, he reads his winning poem.

Ravin Rathnayake, a Year 8 student at Haileybury College Edrington, has won the Student Poetry Competition in the Years 7-8 Category for his poem, Hope.

The competition, part of our Arts Learning Festival, was open to students from all school sectors, and attracted more than 300 entries.

Announcing the winners, ISV Chief Executive Michelle Green said she was impressed by the creative confidence and optimism of the poems.

‘They have drawn on nature, natural disasters and personal experience to find strength and confidence in extremely difficult times,’ Ms Green said.

This is what the judges said about Ravin’s poem:

A sophisticated and hopeful journey across the globe during the pandemic. Each new reading reveals much to consider and admire.

You can watch Ravin read the poem in the video below, and read it for yourself, along with the students awarded honourable mentions in the category for their outstanding work.

Every day this week, we’ll be sharing videos of our winners reciting their poems.

You can also watch these videos:

Adele Bilney, winner in the Prep-Year 2 category, reading her poem, Winter, by clicking here.

Mehak Soin, winner in the Years 3-4 category, reading her poem, Silver Lining, by clicking here.

Felicity van Rensburg, Year 5, Harkaway Hills College, reading her poem, After the Fire, by clicking here.

Haelie Roberts, winner in the Years 9-10, reading her poem, Hope in a Whistle, by clicking here.

Derek Villaceran, winner in the Years 11-12 category, reading his poem, Summer Longings, by clicking here.

You can also find full result details in the news section of the Arts Learning Festival website.

Ravin Rathnayake recites his poem, Hope, described by the judges as 'a sophisticated and hopeful journey across the globe during the pandemic.'

Hope, by Ravin Rathnayake

The brand-new decade.

Quiet and silent.

We are quiescent.

Like the Mauna Kea.

Everyone stopped and froze in time.

It is the beginning of an end.


It all started in Wuhan.

A small city in the Middle Kingdom.

It multiplied like wildfire,

A plague that would make Earth sleep.


Rome, a place in “Lo Stivalo” (the boot1) was having a ball.

The scent of arancini and trapizzino filled the air.

Everyone was happy and peaceful.

Until that same invisible thing,

Gave birth to a pandemonium.


“Mama? Papa? Is Antonio coming over?”

The petite lass asked innocently.

“No bella mia2. Mi dispiace3

Her parents were solemn and sad.

Nothing but grief, was shown.


How can something invisible to the naked eye shut down the Earth?


It expanded over the lands and seas.

Birds stopped tweeting.

The sand at beaches missed touching human feet,

And stroking them underwater.

Everything. Stopped.

It was painful; dreadfully painful.


The Statue of Liberty was despondent

When the Big Apple closed its doors.

Mount. Fuji was struck with grief, as it froze in fear.

The Rainbow Serpent never unleashed its true colours on the Uluru.

Everyone. Fell. Asleep.


Then, a hope was born.

A hope to survive.

A hope to stay together.

A hope for this to end.

A hope for return…


It was time for people

To open their hearts and be grateful.

Grateful to survive the hardship.

Grateful to have hope.

Hope is a powerful feeling. 


Hope gives us what we need.

Hope is our fuel.

Thou should have hope to survive.

Hope is what wakes us up.

Because of hope, the world is awakening.


We applaud those sacrificing their lives

For the sake of others.

We are pacing closer and closer

To our goal.

Like a baby turtle

Wading to the ocean for the first time.


Hope secretly feeds and strengthens humanity.

When confronted with adversity,

Hope can be our best friend. Forever.


1– the boot (lo stivalo) is a nickname for Italy because of its shape like a boot.

2– “bella mia” means my sweetheart in Italian

3– “mi dispiace” means I’m sorry in Italian

Honourable mentions

Lotus Das-Hyland, Year 8, Lauriston Girls’ School

Coming Out for Air

Amy Pearce, Year 8, Mooroolbark College,

Crack the Whip

Alice Kennedy, Year 7/8, The Geelong College

If I was a Song

William McDougall, Year 7, Trinity Grammar School,

The Times I’ll Never Forget

Winners in other sections

Prep-Year 2

Winter, by Adele Bilney, Year 2, Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School

Years 3-4

Silver Lining, by Mehak Soin, Year 4, Melbourne Girls Grammar

Years 5-6

After the Fire, by Felicity van Rensburg, Year 5, Harkaway Hills College

Years 9-10

Hope in a Whistle, by Haelie Roberts, Year 9, Olivet Christian College

Years 11-12

Summer Longings, by Derek Villaceran, Year 12, Lilydale High School

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