Winning isn’t everything…

Dear Readers,

As you know, we have been working on the promoting The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, which is open to everyone under 18 living in a Commonwealth nation. The deadline is almost here, but you can still enter the competition until May 1st. The reason why we are writing this post is because we want to encourage YOU, young people, to participate in it.

Challenges are scary. When it comes to competitions, it’s common to feel a little scared and think things like “What if I’m not good enough?”

Don’t do this.

Negative thoughts are your worst enemies, and can only be controlled by you. It might sound silly, but when they say “participating is as important as winning”, it’s absolutely true. In the competitive world we live in, it looks like no one is ready to accept a loss. However, failures are part of life and sometimes a loss is beneficial to simply understand what you should do better next time. At the end of the day, every experience teaches you something, whether you win or lose. Being able to say you put in the effort, you wrote an essay using your own creativity, and you submitted it into an international competition, says a lot about your character.

Accepting challenges is good for you. You can test your abilities and explore your boundaries. Also, it just feels good to be able to see the fruits of your labour: you’ll feel proud, and start believing in yourself, allowing your confidence to grow. You will realise the value and importance of your own contribution to whatever the matter at hand is, which will greatly benefit you in the future.

It may seem easy to constantly think you won’t win and think about the competition, so don’t focus too much on the other people entering the competition or what they may be doing: just think about yourself and what you want to achieve. Sooner or later, if you work hard, you’ll be able to accept challenges readily in order to achieve your dreams. Take risks and don’t be afraid! You never know what could happen!

Whether you’re participating in the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition (we hope so!) or in any other activity, we would like to wish you the best of luck.


The RCS Digital Comms Team xxx


Our Welsh Winner!

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Although The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition is international, there is also a Welsh Winner!

We at RCS Wales run the PKV Prize, a cash reward for the best essay written by a Welsh student.

The PKV Prize is named after Mr P K Verma, the original Chairman of RCS Wales. His son, the current Chairman, Mr R Verma, set it up. He created the prize to honour his father’s memory, as Mr P K Verma was incredibly active in the Welsh voluntary and charitable community.

We had a chat with members of RCS Wales to find out more about the PKV prize!

So, how is the winner of the PKV Prize decided?

“Well, the judges read and rate all the entries from around the globe. They let us know if there are any outstanding Welsh entries, which we can then read and give the prize to. We’re hoping that this year we get both an international winner and a local winner!”

And what happens to the winner?

“We members of RCS Wales usually visit the winner’s school, and give them their certificate and prize. We take photographs, and congratulate them on their wonderful essay.”

Does only the winner get a certificate?

“No, everyone who enters does too. Just entering the competition is an accomplishment, we believe. It shows determination to write and complete your work to a timescale, and a passion for creativity, and, in this year’s case, peace.”

Do you have any final tips for entries?

“My main advice would be to take risks and write whatever you feel like writing. The competition allows real insight into the way that youth view the world, and we like the writing to be honest and passionate, what people actually feel like writing, rather than what they think we would like to read.”

The competition ends on 1st May – get your entries in to be in with a chance to win the PKV Prize!

Top Tips for a Winning Essay


Writing an essay does not come easily to everyone, so here at RCS Wales we want to help! We’ve designed some Top Tips to help you plan, write and check your essay, to ensure your entry is the best it can be. Don’t forget to check the RCS website to see further details and instructions on what your essay must involve!

  1. Ensure you understand your theme in order to begin your essay, and identify key topics to discuss.

 This year’s theme is ‘A commonwealth for peace’, and there are multiple topics to choose from – check out this blog post we made to help you pick! Make sure you understand what your topic is asking you to discuss. Next, identify the key themes and start planning the structure of your essay before beginning to write.

  1. Entice your readers with a winning first sentence.

The first sentence is the most important for the essay competition. An attractive, powerful, interesting, moving first sentence will seize the eye of judges, attract the reader’s interests, and leave a deep impression. It is a great first step to make a winning essay.

  1. Always check your essay for grammar and spelling.

An essay may have brilliant content and thought-provoking ideas, however with poor spelling and grammar it can never be a winner. If you are not great at spelling or grammar, ask a parent, teacher or friend to help you! There are also great online materials to help if you are struggling.

  1. Be creative and innovative.

For your essay to really stand out, try being creative and bringing forward new ideas. Taking a risk can really pay off! You want your entry to be unique. Past winners have even taken the term ‘essay’ loosely and written poems! Try to be the entry that sticks in the judges minds.

  1. The end should be as strong as the beginning,

Towards the end of your essay, once all your brilliant, creative ideas and written, you may just want to quickly finish the essay and submit it. STOP! The end is a vital part of your essay, and the final memory the judge will have of your entry! With careful planning, you can create an ending that summarises and concludes your thoughts, and leaves the judges wanting more.

Get your entries in by 01 May 2017!

Winners Week: What you could do in London as a winner!

The 2016 winners of the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition were rewarded with a holiday to London, doing both educational and recreational activities. The winners were able to see many of London’s famous landmarks and attractions. We thought we could show you some of the great places you could possibly visit in London, if you were a 2017 winner!

  1. The London Eye


The London Eye is a Ferris wheel that was erected in 1999, to help London celebrate the new millennium. It is now one of London’s most famous landmarks, and is located along the River Thames. Its total height is 135 meters, making it the world’s tallest Ferris wheel at the time of its construction, a position now held by the High Roller in Las Vegas. The London Eye allows you to see a 25-mile radius around London – a view you cannot possibly get anywhere else! Book tickets online here!

  1. Tower Bridge


Tower Bridge is the first bridge in the London Thames estuary and is probably the most famous of the 15 bridges on the Thames. It was built between 1886 and 1894, however it was been updated with modern mechanics to allow the bridge to open and let boats pass more easily. If you take a tour within the bridge, you can look down through the glass flooring and watch boats pass underneath. Book a tour online here!

  1. The British Museum


The British Museum is located at the Grand Russell Square in the north of New Oxford Street in London. It was officially opened to the public in 1759 and has remained a firm favourite with locals and tourists alike. The museum houses a wide range of cultural relics and treasures from around the world, in nearly 8 million collections. Currently there are free exhibitors such as ‘Places of the mind: British watercolour landscapes 1850-1950’ and ‘Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories’. Exhibitions you can pay for, such as ‘The American Dream: pop to the present’, are usually around £15.

  1. Buckingham Palace


Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s residence and the Royal family’s administrative headquarters. It is located in the City of Westminster and is easily accessible by using the London underground by getting off at St James’ Park, Green Park or Victoria. I would recommend coming via Green Park due to the surrounding natural beauty. Tourists love coming to Buckingham Palace for the ‘Changing of the Guard’. Check online beforehand to plan your trip, so you can see this tradition in action!

  1. Big Ben


Big Ben is a famous clock tower on the Palace of Westminster on the river Thames. Big Ben may be its most famous name, however it is officially known as Elizabeth Tower. Big Ben appears in most films or TV shows set in London, and is one of the key elements of London’s New Year’s Eve celebration.

Need Help Picking a Topic for The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition?

At RCS Wales, we understand that often starting is the hardest part… so we’ve devised this chart to help you pick which essay topic is right for you!

Decide if you’re more of a creative type, or a history lover, a debater, or analysis fan, and we can find the right topic for you!

Once you’ve picked your topic, head over to our Top Tips section for help writing your essay!

Get your entries in by 01 May 2017!

picking your essay

Queens Commonwealth Essay Competition Winners 2016

Last years competition was extremely successful! There were entries from nearly every Commonwealth country, with nearly 13,500 entries overall.

Winners and Runners-up of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2016 were Inessa Rajah, Gauri Kumar, Esther Mungalaba and Tan Wan Gee.

Hear their stories below!

Senior Winner: Inessa Rajah
Durban, South Africa

Essay:A short story exploring the trouble of holding an entitled position in the face of poverty and conflict-induced resettlement.

Personal Profile: Inessa studying at Durban Girls’ College. The reason why she entered the competition is that the competition gave her a opportunity to write about a relevant, thought-provoking topic.

Junior Winner: Gauri Kumar
Singapore, Singapore

Essay: Gauri focused on the difficulties faced by immigrant families who could not communicate with their relatives because of language barriers. She discussed the use of language in a serious and mature way to coordinate different identities.

Personal Profile:Gauri is currently studying at the Tanglin Trust School and the Singapore Chinese Women’s School.

Senior Runner-up: Esther Mungalaba
Lusaka, Zambia

Essay: Esther wrote a mature assessment of Europe’s Migrant Crisis.

Personal Profile:Esther graduated from the Kasisi Girls secondary School in 2014.

Junior Runner-up: Tan Wan Gee
Singapore, Singapore

Essay: Tan Wan Gee wrote a s letter to Santa Claus in poem form.. The central theme of the poem was equality.

Personal Profile:Wan Gee is a student of Temasek Junior College.

Could you be a 2017 winner? Find more details on The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition here , or alternatively contact us!