Language success on a national stage

Asset Publisher

29 February 2024

Reward and recognition

A South West primary school has been recognised for its outstanding language students with top placings in a national language competition.

East Manjimup Primary School students demonstrated their speaking skills and passion for Indonesian language in the annual National Australia Indonesia Language Awards (NAILA) last year. 

The school had eight entries and walked away with the first, second and third placings in the Years 4-6 category.

East Manjimup Primary School winners Lucas Macfarlane, Natalya Hercock and Annabel Sewell.

Francesca Knowles is the school’s Indonesian language teacher, who has been working with the students. 

“Enthusiasm for learning Indonesian has grown over the years and entering competitions has been an integral element in this,” Ms Knowles said. 

For the competition, the students wrote their proposed speech on the theme of food, in English, and together with Ms Knowles they translated and edited their writing. 

The students dedicated their time to before-school sessions to memorise their speech and perfect their pronunciations, before switching their focus to their performance, and finally filming their entry. 

In the Years 4-6 category, Lucas Macfarlane placed first, with Natalya Hercock and Annabel Sewell claiming second and third places respectively. 

Lucas was really excited about the achievement. 

“I felt a little faint when I won the NAILA,” he said. 

“They flew me to Sydney and I met a lot of people who were really good at Indonesian. I need to get better at Indonesian!”  

Ms Knowles said it was a huge surprise to have students take out the first three placings. 

“It also made all of us feel very proud of our students’ achievement,” she said. 

“Entering competitions raises student effort and achievement to a much higher level. Celebration of our successes over the years has inspired younger students to aim for selection themselves and generally raised the level of interest and engagement in Indonesian learning for all students.” 

In 2023, the school also had students place first in the Indonesian Heroes Storytelling competition, run nationally by the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia Canberra, and first placings in several categories in the Modern Language Teachers’ Association of Western Australia (MLTAWA) Side by Side competition and Western Australian Indonesian Language Teachers’ Association (WILTA) Klip-Klip competition.