I may have mentioned just a few times that all 3 of the girls’ group entries at the Festival of Quilts this year were awarded ‘Highly Commended’. Obviously, we were all thrilled – but what does it really mean?

For the first time this year, there was not only a first and runners up award in the schools’ categories, there was also a third place and then Highly Commended. In past years, the GillyMac Friday Girls have been runners up (three years in a row). However, in the Senior Schools Competition 2017, there was a first, second and third and then my three classes were each awarded Highly Commended. Additionally, in past years I have only seen one Highly Commended awarded per competition category – but we scooped three!

So I’ve been thinking on this over the Summer and what this could mean. It can’t be a third place, as this year there was a third place. So, this is my conclusion. Judges work incredibly hard to master their art. They are in fact masters themselves. I believe that, in the past, I’ve been thinking about Highly Commended awards completely wrong. I now wonder if  Highly Commended is indeed an award of distinction that can be given by the judges when they see something special that falls outside of the criteria within which they are judging by – like a wild card.

So how amazing is that – 3 Highly Commendeds – just like I said all along – I am thrilled!

Free As A Bird, by Lola Hazel, Isabelle Hawley, Jessica Fraser, Lillia Bowsher and Anna Swift

The Freedom of Peter Pan , by Mia Muncer, Abby Jones, Jessica Phillips, Maddy Sparks, Georgia Bardwell and Freya Ramsey

Let Freedom Reign by Amy Ransom, Imogen Wallis, Charlotte Wheeler, Nancy Huband, Millie Clathworthy and Beth Norris