Eirinh Vergaki has taken out first prize in the primary category (age 8 -12) of the second SBS National Languages Competition.

The 11-year-old migrated to Australia from Greece three-and-half-years ago and attends Greek language class every Saturday at one of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne campuses.

Open to all schools across the country, students learning a language other than English were encouraged to submit a 30-second video with a summary of ‘What learning a language means to me?’ in their study language.

In her winning submission, Vergaki referred to the Greek language as the “mother” of all others.

“I’m going to tell you a song, a story. Because the language that I love is only one. Mother, it has given birth to many others. Mother to languages small and big. The Greek language passes the boundaries. I love it so much, it never forgets me. Its words never end. It fills anyone’s empty hug. So beautiful, special, unique, the language that I adore is Greek,” she said.

Out of the thousands of entries that were received joining Vergaki as winners were Percy Page (age 4-7, Mandarin), Anjali D’Cunha (age 13-15, Swedish), and Celina Bugara (age 16-18, Polish).

(L-R) SBS CEO and Managing Director Michael Ebeid, Director of Audio and Language Content SBS Mandi Wicks, and Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham with the four winners of the competition.

All winners were invited to take part in an awards ceremony at SBS in Sydney this week, where they were awarded a trophy, an unlimited pass to Luna Park, and an iPad – one for themselves and one for their school.

The ceremony was hosted by SBS CEO and managing director, Michael Ebeid AM, and featured a number of special guests including Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham and Eurovision singer and competition judge Isaiah who also performed on the night.

“We received entries representing more than 70 languages, which was a real reflection of Australian society today,” said SBS Director of Audio and Language Content, Mandi Wicks.

“Our winners demonstrated their passion, love and dedication to learning different languages.”