IN 2008 two words changed the face of a generation.
Kevin Rudd’s February 13 apology speech was the first time any Australian prime minister had publicly recognised the atrocities inflicted on Aboriginal people and communities during the stolen generation.
In 2014 Wagga teenager Chloe Dean used the words as inspiration for an editorial on Closing the Gap as part of a NAIDOC week competition.
The eloquent 15-year-old Kooringal High School student was one of 20 students across the state awarded a medal. She was selected from a pool of thousands.
Chloe wrote of the power of the two simple words – when they were said “a wave of emotion and a process of healing began across the nation”.
“I started thinking about the two words “I’m sorry” – and how often we talk about small and little things,” Chloe said.
“(In relation to the stolen generation) they were long overdue.
“I brought in quotes from Kevin Rudd and well-known indigenous leaders.”
The result was a powerful piece of writing.
“To voice it (was important),” Chloe said.
“It showed just how much it was needed.”
Chloe, who hopes to pursue a career in creative writing or journalism, was proud to have been awarded the medal.
School principal Glyn Leyshon said the school community was proud that a young person like Chloe had the ability and quality of writing to express complex thoughts in such a way.
“Her writing obviously stood out,” Mr Leyshon said.
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