Emma's Latvian postcard gets ambassador's attention

A student from a landlocked town set her imaginary sail for the Baltic Sea and caught the attention of Latvia’s ambassador to Australia. Kerrie O’Connor reports.

A student holding a certificate with two adults. A student holding a certificate with two adults.
Image: Emma Harris holds her certificate from the Latvian Embassy with Baradine Country Women’s Association’s international officer Evelyn Hampton and Baradine Central School principal Matthew Edwards. Right: The winning postcard.

A student from a landlocked town set her imaginary sail for the Baltic Sea and caught the attention of Latvia’s ambassador to Australia. Kerrie O’Connor reports.

From Baradine Central School, in north-west NSW, Year 7 student Emma Harris turned her mind to a small nation in Northern Europe and threw her heart into a Country Women’s Association (CWA) competition.

The NSW CWA had picked Latvia as its country-of-study for 2023 and invited students around the state to imagine themselves there, writing a postcard home.

Emma’s Uncle Bert was the lucky recipient of her postcard, beautifully illustrated with drawings of the country’s deer, and spiced with details of her food and adventures.

Emma’s work was chosen from 70 Baradine entries for the next round of judging at the CWA’s Castlereagh Country Group, where it was shortlisted to be sent to the Latvian Embassy in Canberra.

There, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Latvia to the Commonwealth of Australia, Marģers Krams, and his team judged Emma’s postcard the second-best in the NSW.

“I put in details of what I ate, what I did, what was in the food,” Emma said.

“I did a lot of research.”

Her Uncle Bert was “very happy” to receive his postcard and even happier to know his niece had earned a podium finish.

Principal Matthew Edwards was delighted too: Baradine Central School likes to punch above its weight in this contest, with Cooper Ruttley also second in NSW 2020.

Mr Edwards is quick to point out the school excels in many things, but especially in community spirit.

“We like to support each other, rally around and encourage each other to do our best,” Mr Edwards said.

“We have that real spirit.

“Even though we are a small town, we want to be heard, we want to do well, we want to do our best.

“It is something we really encourage our students to do and they keep surprising us, going above and beyond our expectations.

“It is a proud moment for all the community.

“We watch them come through from kinder to year 12 and the pride you feel when the kids do well is just like a family member doing well.”

Mr Matthews thanked Baradine CWA powerhouse Evelyn Hampton, who championed the competition in the district.

Mrs Hampton said students each year were asked to study a particular country, its residents, food, culture and music.

“In Baradine there were 70 entries from both Baradine Central School and St John’s Catholic School,” Mrs Hampton said.

The top two from Baradine were then judged against entries from 13 branches in the Castlereagh group, before Emma’s entry was chosen for the final stage in Canberra.

“The Castlereagh Country Group and the Baradine CWA were thrilled to see that Emma had come second in the competition and she was awarded a certificate signed by the ambassador,” Mrs Hampton said.

 “The ambassador commented that the drawing of the postcard was very colourful with animals characteristic of Latvia.

“The text is descriptive and informative and full of facts about Latvian nature and food with a personal touch. Emma also received the signed points certificate and a badge from Latvia.”

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