Reconciliation Through the Eyes of the Young

Reconciliation Through the Eyes of the Young

Celebrating St Leonard’s College Achievements at the Ellen José Student Reconciliation Awards

Reconciliation is a powerful concept that holds different meanings for everyone, but when viewed through the eyes of young people, it takes on a special significance. The Ellen José Student Reconciliation Awards aim to foster awareness and understanding of reconciliation among Bayside primary and secondary school students, inspiring them to express their interpretations through art and writing. This initiative not only highlights the creativity and thoughtfulness of our youth but also underscores their role as the future of Australia.

The theme for this year’s awards was “As a young person, what does reconciliation mean to you?” Students were encouraged to explore this question deeply and present their unique perspectives through their artwork or writing. The awards ceremony, held on Saturday, 25 May, marked the beginning of Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June) and celebrated the outstanding contributions of these young individuals.

This year’s judging panel included Dr. Joseph Toscano from the Ellen José Memorial Foundation, Ellen José’s children Libera Toscano Sasmana and Joshua Toscano, and the Mayor of Bayside City Council, Victoria, Fiona Stitfold. They faced the difficult task of evaluating the exceptional entries and selecting winners across various categories.

St Leonard’s College is proud to announce the achievements of our talented students who were recognised in this competition:

Years 7 – 10

  • Claire D (Year 8) – 3rd Place (Written Category)

Claire’s insightful piece, featured below, captured the essence of reconciliation, earning her a well-deserved third place. Her work stands as a testament to the thoughtful engagement and creativity that St Leonard’s students bring to significant societal issues.


  • Prep to Grade 3 Category: Aryan T (Year 2) – Artwork featured above
  • Grade 4 – 6 Category: Lillian C (Year 6)

Aryan T and Lillian C were also honored as finalists in their respective categories, showcasing their exceptional talent and commitment to the theme of reconciliation.

The Ellen José Student Reconciliation Awards provide a vital platform for young voices to contribute to the national dialogue on reconciliation. Through their participation, our students at St Leonard’s College are not only enhancing their understanding of this crucial issue but are also helping to shape a more inclusive and harmonious future for Australia.

Congratulations to all the winners and finalists from St Leonard’s College. Your achievements are a source of pride for our College community, and we commend your efforts in promoting reconciliation through your creative expressions.




‘Reconciliation means working together to correct the legacy of past injustice.’ – Nelson Mandela. This quote by Nelson Mandela states exactly what reconciliation means to me. Reconciliation means to unite and work as a team to forgive past wrongs, learn from them and take action to get one step closer to world peace.

In Australia, reconciliation means to recognise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and respect their decisions as well as ours. It means to think about the discrimination they had to face and to make amends by recognising them as people equal to everyone else. The First Nations People also have to take part and forgive the British for what they did. As Alan Paton said, “It is not ‘forgive and forget’ as if nothing wrong had ever happened, but ‘forgive and go forward,’ building on the mistakes of the past and the energy generated by reconciliation to create a new future.’ The First Nations People of Australia certainly did have to face prejudice, and they should never forget it. However, they should try to move forward to help create a better future.

This world has two options: have world peace or live on a planet of hatred and darkness. Having world peace will create trust and unity. ‘World peace is not only possible but inevitable. It is the next stage in the evolution of this planet.’ – Universal House of Justice. We need humans to open up their minds and create peace within themselves. People need to accept diversity and treat everyone fairly, no matter what their background is or what they believe. At the moment, many people are too independent, don’t trust others, and only care about what happens to them. This will never achieve world peace. As Jimi Hendrix once said, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” This is why we need reconciliation, so we can achieve self and world peace. If we choose no world peace, the world will experience conflict, suffering, violence and instability. We would lose resources such as livestock. Families would be torn apart; lives would be lost. People would be changed permanently, only thinking about their survival and no one else’s. In other simpler words, humanity would be doomed. With all these wars going on around the world and some people caring mostly about money and power, it looks like the world is heading straight for that ugly world of conflict and selfishness. The only way to stop it and turn the world towards peace and happiness is reconciliation.

That is what reconciliation means to me. A bright ray of hope and cheerfulness slicing through the darkness, guiding people to a better life. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr. Reconciliation is a pathway to world peace.