St. Stephen CSS student recognized with OECTA Young Authors Award

Amarachi Okpalugo with her award

June 21, 2023,

Grade 12 St. Stephen Catholic Secondary School student Amarachi Okpalugo has been recognized by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) with a Young Authors Award for her poem entitled: The Narrative.

The Young Authors Awards acknowledge English and French writing in categories ranging from poetry and short stories, to plays and non-fiction. The purpose of the awards is to celebrate and showcase students’ writing talents and their teachers’ instructional talents.

“The entries from this year’s Young Authors Awards and the winners are a testament to the talent, creativity, and dedication of all students in publicly funded Catholic schools including in PVNC Catholic,” PVNC OECTA Unit President Bart Scollard said.

This year’s winners were selected from the 260 entries elevated for consideration at the provincial level, out of the thousands of entries from students that participate locally. 

The complete list of the 2023 winners and a booklet with all of the winning entries is available at:

OECTA represents 45,000 teachers in Ontario’s publicly funded English Catholic schools, from Kindergarten to Grade 12.


The Narrative
By Amarachi Okpalugo
St. Stephen CSS, Bowmanville 


Have you heard the story of the other?

Imagine sitting for all those years just waiting to be discovered.

Caked in dirt and bathed in filth.

Animalistic, uncivilized, just surviving until,

saved by a white knight with hopes of sophistication,

who would do the impossible and tame the uncivilized nation.

But nothing is free, that’s the way of the world. Even others must earn their stay, so they are

offered an occupation.

An honest day’s work from morning till dawn I still wonder what it is they ran away from.

This is a land built on hard work, everyone played a hand that I can affirm.

They demanded more freedom and we gave it to them,

What more is there to want?

Marching and screaming that feels more like a taunt,

don’t you understand there’s a system in which we must all abide?

What makes others special?

Who gets to decide?

The history of the others is clear cut through and through, what more is there to say,

I relinquish my time to you.


Have you heard the story of the other?

Do they think it to be true?

See what makes the story clear cut is that it’s only heard from one point of view.

A one sided history in which there’s no rebuttal,

laced with bias and misconceptions with no attempts to be subtle.

Our story began before they arrived,

A time where words like “other” were not even recognized.

With palaces that aimed to reach the heaven

With resources and riches that you couldn’t imagine.

The white knights discovery was heavily assisted


Tell me, how do you uncover a place that already existed?

Rich languages and cultures all condensed into one

Our story was written far after it had begun.

Not wrong, just incomplete

Stereotypes and assumptions wedged into the gaps

of a finished, but unfinished story

the intended response perhaps.


Have you heard the story of the other?

Whose blood bleeds red.

Whose bodies run on oxygen.

Whose shoulders hold a head.

Have you heard about the others who look like

you and me? And deserve the same fundamental right to be free

Are you the other? Is it him, is it me?

Don’t you see that divide was built into the narrative that was construed?

It is our duty to change the narrative.

It’s no longer enough to be complicit.

We must all be proactive.

Change the narrative.

Change the narrative.