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Sneha tops philosophy essay competition

Sneha Shygale, Year 10

Sneha Shygale has been awarded first place in the 2021 Philosophy in Schools Essay Competition. Her achievement marks the third consecutive year Meriden girls have earned top-three placings in this rigorous academic challenge.

This year, the competition invited students to consider friendship and reflect on notions of friendship that have been explored by ancient writers and philosophers such as Cicero and Aristotle, as well as modern philosophers such as Dr Sandra Lynch.

In addition to these sources, Year 10 student, Sneha, chose to draw on Indian Classical literature to develop her argument.

“After I gained a solid understanding of the ideas of Aristotle and Cicero, I thought it would be interesting to look at Eastern philosophy, to see if philosophers from that part of the world would have differing views on friendship,” Sneha said.

“Surprisingly, despite living on different sides of the globe, Eastern and Western philosophers share similar views on friendship and this discovery gave me some universal values on which to build the foundations of my essay.”

Sneha’s work examines the types and value of friendships and concludes that genuine friendships are a key component for a fulfilled life because they help “double one’s joys and divide one’s griefs.”

The Philosophy in Schools Essay Competition is run in conjunction with the Royal Society of NSW Southern Highlands. Students in Years 10 to 12 who are members of Meriden’s Philosophy Club have been tackling the competition’s curly questions for the past three years.

Ms Priscilla Curran, Dean of Lateral Learning and Coordinator of Philosophy Club, said the competition gives students an opportunity to grapple with big-picture issues in a manner that is meaningful to them.

“The students have a chance to consider a philosophical issue in great depth, conducting their own independent research and then constructing an argument that is informed by great literature but is also shaped by their own experiences and understanding of the world,” Ms Curran said.

“It is wonderful to see Meriden girls continue to perform so well in this state-wide challenge and I congratulate Sneha on her thoughtful and sophisticated essay.”

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