Hunter student’s artwork shines in Interrelate's national anti-bullying competition

Creative: Kate Whitby expresses herself through drawing. "You have it forever as a reminder of a time and place." Picture: Simone De Peak
Creative: Kate Whitby expresses herself through drawing. "You have it forever as a reminder of a time and place." Picture: Simone De Peak

KATE Whitby has considered many careers, such as pet shop owner, doctor, vet and palaeontologist.

But the nine year old has taken one step closer towards one particularly meaningful dream – to become an artist – after one of her works received national recognition.

“I feel pretty special and happy,” she said. “I’m super excited.”

The year three student from St Joseph’s Primary Charlestown will travel to Government House in Sydney on Friday as one of 33 national finalists in Interrelate’s fifth anti-bullying poster competition. 

Interrelate, which runs early intervention and education programs, had 45,000 students from across the country register to create posters this year, including 6500 who sent theirs in to be judged and vie for a prize.

Interrelate chief executive Patricia Occelli said the participants were “ambassadors of the anti-bullying cause” and evidence of an “army of young people” willing to stand besides victims.

“We know that there is power in numbers and really encourage young people who see bullying behaviours in their schools to step up and let the victims know that it’s not the entire world against them,” she said.

“Let them know that they are worth standing up for and that you will stay with them until things change for the better.” Kate said she had experienced bullying.

“I didn’t like it,” she said. “I told them to stop and they didn’t so I went to the teacher and then it stopped. Bullying is not okay.”

She said she wanted to hang her poster, which includes the messages ‘Believe in yourself’ and ‘Say no to bullying’ in the cubby space underneath her loft bed, which she plans to turn into a private art gallery.

But her mother Jenny Whitby would like to see the work displayed on Kate’s bedroom wall, so the whole family can admire it.  “We’re so proud of her,” she said.

“This is a great opportunity for her to be recognised and for such a worthy cause.”