Students Winning with Little Stories & Big Ideas

​Five St Thomas More College, Sunnybank (STMC) students received awards and an honourable mention after entering their work in the flash fiction writing competition, Little Stories, Big Ideas. 

Overall, nine submitted their stories written in 100 words or less inspired by the theme “Acceptance".  

The Little Stories, Big Ideas competition was created by authors Rebecca Fraser and Joe Novella to ignite the imagination of the next generation of storytellers. 

Founder Joe Novella congratulated STMC online for the results. 

“Congratulations to everyone involved at St Thomas More College, Sunnybank for almost scooping the pool, your teachers and school community must be very proud," he said.

STMC Acting Principal Karen Mulcahy said she was very pleased to hear the news of the students' success.

“I was thrilled to hear about the success of our students. I'm not only proud, I am beyond proud of their work," she said.

The Junior Division winner was Year 9 student Charlize Van Buren Lensinck with her story 'Bloodied Poppies'. The judges shared they were extremely moved by her poignant story on tragedy, grieving and the power of acceptance.

In second place was Maya Mawhinney also in Year 9 for her story “Never Settle", with the judges saying she created powerful imagery in just a few words.

Year 8 student Alyssa Mayo was awarded third place by judges and praised for her piece “Accept Us As We Are", saying it was an 'anthem for embracing diversity'.

Year 9 student Sarah Campbell received an honourable mention for her piece "Glassmakers Exhibit".

In the Senior Division, Year 10 student Jasmine Phan placed 2nd for her piece 'Living for Love'.

STMC English Teacher Mr Ben Potts who also runs the co-curricular Writer's Club, congratulated the students on their recent achievements and said they were already awaiting results from entries in the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards, the biggest writing competition for high schoolers in Australia.

 “There were 260 entries from STMC, so I know many students are eagerly awaiting results."

“It was great to see so many students writing during lockdown," he said.

Further, Mr Potts said students were preparing for the upcoming 19th Annual Ipswich Poetry Feast and participating in the inaugural Australian Poetry Month and Writer's Club members are in a '30 in 30, a poem-a-day' writing challenge and competition.

Read the award-winning submissions below.


Bloodied Poppies, Charlize Van Buren Lensinck – 1st Place

the trumpet plays my sorry

I bleed poppies​​

my tears fall for those who cannot cry

the brok​​en, the lost, the dead

I let my war badges sag

let my broken life crumble


there I stood in the field

I would have been proud

but it was suicide

they let us take the bullets

that should have been theirs


I remember the enemy

I remember the ally


only now can I sleep without gunshots

without the ringing in my ears, without crying, begging

I have been gifted rest

if I can accept the past

accept the bloodied poppies


Never Settle, Maya Mawhinney, Year 9 – 2rd Place

I was always told to never settle. To never accept how you are. I have spent so long seeking the answer… and it led me here, into a dark alley, clutching a bloodstained brick and leaning over her corpse. I didn't settle. I upgraded my life… by stealing hers.


Accept Us For Who We Are, Alyssa Mayo, Year 8 – 3rd Place

why can't the world accept people for who they are?

not clip people's wings, so they won't make it far

nationality, sexuality, gender, and skin

what really matters is the person within


why should it matter who we are attracted to?

why should it matter the bod we are born into?

everyone preaches about accepting their ways

they only tell lies – I count the days


until we can stop casual discrimination

we need to do right by the young generation

we were not born to stay sitting down

we were born to stand strong; we were born to stand out


The Glassmakers Exhibit, by Sarah Campbell, Year 9 – Honourable Mention

The glass folds and squashes into a wonderous heap. I submerse it in the tub and lift it to the skylight. The longer I gaze, the more my face stings. Designed in a fit of passion and selfishness, I see that the bubbles I have neglected to free are now permanent. I love the way they suggest personality in the piece. Alas, any slight flaws will only disappoint the customers. Guilt chains me to my work shackles are no use when the key is in your hand. I convince myself to toss it in the skip.



Living for Love, by Jasmine Phan, Year 10 - 2nd Place

the TV remote is running out of battery;

the last packet is in the bin

stuck on the same channel with the volume turned all

the way down

the gruesome hues flicker against my skin

sleeping is a futile thing when I have her messages that feel like a storm of comets

protesters on the news are shooting bullets engraved with holy verses

but it doesn't bother me, or her – we'll never be


try to make us cry again, we've already found


flowers for everyone

we're living for love

while you sit on the highest shelf.