“I was nervous but very excited to speak in front of the audience. My speech was different from the rest of the other participants as they were discussing their hearing journey with their cochlear implants. As for me, I decided to talk about animals on our Australian coins. This topic also highlighted the animals’ hearing capabilities.”
To celebrate our 50th year anniversary, Telethon Speech & Hearing (TSH) will be showcasing 50 stories of people who have been a part of our organisation’s history since 1967.
Today’s highlighted story is from Valarie Kwik, a current student of TSH who spoke at Parliment House in Canberra earlier this year.
On Monday the 20th March, my family and I arrived in Canberra at around 6:30pm. The plane was delayed due to a storm and was not allowed to land at the airport. We had to fly around above Canberra, for at least 30 minutes, before the pilot could land the plane. We took a taxi to our hotel and checked-in around 7:15pm. We met a Canberra family whose son and daughter, Ahyem and Saja, both have cochlear implants. Their parents are from Sudan.
The next day it was the National Power of Speech Day and we had to wake up early because we had a photoshoot at Parliament House. We all enjoyed the photoshoot especially the one taken in front of the Parliament House! It was an overcast day but we were luckily able to have a successful photoshoot outside.
“The next day it was the National Power of Speech Day and we had to wake up early because we had a photoshoot at Parliament House. It was an overcast day but we were luckily able to have a successful photoshoot outside.”
As we waited near the auditorium for it to start, we were able to read about the history of Parliament and see a lot of the artefacts on display. I also met new friends. Soon we had to enter the auditorium and from there I had to give my speech. I was nervous but very excited to speak in front of the audience. My speech was different from the rest of the other participants as they were discussing their hearing journey with their cochlear implants. As for me, I decided to talk about animals on our Australian coins and the title was called “Money”. This topic also highlighted the animals’ hearing capabilities.
I was shocked and excited to learn that I had won the Junior Power of Speech award. We also had a chance to meet the Prime Minister. After the speeches we had a light lunch and I was interviewed by WIN TV.
“I was shocked and excited to learn that I had won the Junior Power of Speech award. We also had a chance to meet the Prime Minister.”
We had a great time in Canberra as we had the opportunity to tour places such as the shopping centres, Questacon (like a Science Centre), The National Museum and the Old Parliament House. Overall, my favourite was Questacon as there were a lot of curious activities to do. I was also very impressed with how tidy and organised Canberra was.
Valarie with her family in front of Parliament House.
Watch Valarie’s speech below!
Valarie (9) is a current student of TSH’s School Support (Outpost) program and winner at this year’s Power of Speech Awards.
Diagnosed deaf at birth, Valarie has since proved hearing loss is no barrier to achieving remarkable success in life after receiving cochlear implants, early intervention therapy, and school support from Telethon Speech & Hearing. Valarie now excels at St Pius X Catholic Primary School.
About the Power of Speech Awards
The Power of Speech Awards is an annual public speaking event traditionally held at Australian Parliament House in Canberra each year. The event showcases the exceptional language skills of children who are enrolled in First Voice member centre’s early intervention programs across Australia and New Zealand.
This year’s event – which was attended by the Prime Minister the Hon Malcolm Turnball MP – was held at in the Parliament House Theatre on 21 March 2017.
Participating in one of two age categories (6-8 years or 9-12 years), all children deliver a three-minute prepared speech on a topic of their choice to an audience of parliamentarians, distinguished guests, families and friends.
Valarie was 1 of 12 deaf children from Australia and New Zealand invited to participate in the Power of Speech event.
Fellow TSH student, Owen Johns (11) from Newman College was also invited to speak at Parliament House and showcase his incredible public speaking skills.