Defending the truth pays off

Leaning on a selection of library books yesterday is Otago Girls’ High School pupil Lauren...
Leaning on a selection of library books yesterday is Otago Girls’ High School pupil Lauren Gibbens, who achieved the top national score in the International Competitions and Assessments for Schools (ICAS) year 9 writing assessment. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Is it ever right to lie?

Year 9 Otago Girls’ High School pupil Lauren Gibbens (14) does not think so.

Her argument on the topic was so compelling she has been recognised as the top year 9 writing pupil in the country.

Lauren achieved the top score nationally in the International Competitions and Assessments for Schools (ICAS) year 9 writing assessment.

ICAS assessments are voluntarily undertaken by pupils across Australia and New Zealand covering a wide range of subjects.

This year the writing assessment asked pupils to write a short essay on if it was ever morally right to lie, Lauren said.

The results of the assessment came as a complete surprise to her.

Lauren had taken part in ICAS assessments since she was in primary school, but had never received anything higher than a high distinction.

The national top spot did not feel real, as she did not feel like she deserved it, she said.

Although the piece that won her the medal was a persuasive essay, she preferred creative writing.

She enjoyed dystopian books and hoped to be a part-time author in the future.

Winning the medal was ‘‘really cool’’ and she was proud to see success with her writing.

The awards ceremony could not be held in person this year due to Covid-19, but she hoped to receive her medal in the mail soon instead, she said.

ICAS could not release information about other pupils in Otago and Southland.

wyatt.ryder@odt.co.nz

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