Alexandra Neill, of Grafton, is the latest member of her family to take out the North Coast Heywire competition.
Alexandra Neill, of Grafton, is the latest member of her family to take out the North Coast Heywire competition. Brendan Ray

Heywire winner keeps it in family

LAST year, Alexandra Neill hassled her brother Finbah to enter the ABC radio competition, Heywire.

He ended up taking out the title.

However, it was Alexandra’s turn this year to be named the North Coast winner of Heywire.

The winning piece Alexandra submitted was a short story painting a picture of her experience of agriculture as a subject for her Higher School Certificate, which she completed last year.

“The story kind of starts with a conversation I have had with so many people about doing agriculture as a subject at school. Not many people, especially those in the city, understand why you would want to do it,” she said.

“They kind of say ‘what do you mean you did ag? Your school had cows? That’s insane’.

“It’s relative as kids can’t do it anymore because schools simply aren’t offering it ... but I think it is a really interesting subject.”

Of all of the subjects Alexandra completed during her HSC, which included English and history, she found agriculture the most interesting and relative to her life.

“It is one of the most valuable subjects I did,” she said.

“You don’t have to do agriculture for it to be useful ... like knowing where your food comes from and how stuff is grown.

“It gives you respect for the things that we eat and the people that grow and farm it.”

As one of the winners of the competition, Alexandra will head to Canberra next year for a youth forum, which she said was a privilege and a real opportunity to get the thoughts of the region across.

“You discuss issues pertaining to youth, especially in the country. Everything that is discussed at the Heywire forum if given to the government and it goes into consideration by Cabinet.

“In the past, people who have taken part in the forum have had the opportunity to make a real difference for the youth of Australia.

“Youth from the country don’t often get heard and it’s not because we have a lack of ideas.

“It is because we don’t have the platform, and Heywire gives us that platform.”

Since leaving high school in 2009, Alexandra has been writing for the Channel 10 show, Good News Week and will be studying creative writing at Newcastle University next year.

She hopes to move into script writing and possibly take her craft overseas.


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