Who am I? Who am I really? It’s the question that has intrigued human beings since the beginning of time. This is the question Meriden Philosophy Club students considered when they entered the Philosophy in Schools NSW Essay Competition, with our girls taking out second and third places in the academically rigorous challenge.
Year 12 student, Sarah Kostoglou, was awarded second place for her exploration of the interdependence of psychological and physical continuity theories in the formation of an individual’s identity. Year 11 student and Philosophy Captain, Dunja Dudic, was awarded third place for her examination of how the literature of Whitman, Shakespeare, Bronte and Dickinson have sought to explore the human condition and the search for identity.
Mrs Priscilla Curran, Coordinator of Learning Link – Research and Critical Thinking, congratulated Sarah and Dunja on their achievement and complimented Year 12 student, Evelyn Haseldine, who also entered the competition, on her commendable essay which interrogated the interdependence of individual identity and collective identity, particularly with regard to religion.
Students were free to choose the angle from which they approached the question of “Who am I?” Sarah and Dunja, both of whom entered the competition for the first time this year, said that earning a place was a pleasant surprise.
Sarah said she felt her interest in reading widely, particularly through the English Extension 2 course, paired with her participation in Philosophy Club, helped shape the ideas in her essay.
“I really enjoy Philosophy Club. I like how, when we come together to discuss different opinions and ideas, there is such a diversity of attitudes among the group,” she said.
Sarah has aspirations to work at the United Nations and plans to study law, together with politics and international relations, following the HSC.
Dunja said she chose to enter the competition because of her keen interest in philosophy and because she was inspired by the question posed.
“I love philosophy because it gives me an outlet to think about life’s big questions, and Philosophy Club helps me to appreciate how relevant philosophy is to us all in terms of making ethical decisions and considering current events,” she said.
“The question of ‘Who am I?’ was inspiring because, especially in the teenage years, everyone is searching for their identity and it resonated with what I have been thinking about in my own life so I wanted to put my ideas on paper and submit them as a body of work. I am grateful for the mentorship of Mrs Curran, who runs Philosophy Club, and who makes the club so interesting because she’s passionate about looking at philosophical ideas,” Dunja said.
Philosophy in Schools NSW has invited Sarah and Dunja to attend a virtual award ceremony at the end of the year at which the competition judge will provide feedback on the work of the students who obtained placings.