Having a Cochlear™ implant has allowed me to attend school alongside other students who have normal hearing. Throughout my schooling, I always had special provision to help and improve my learning. I have had a great support network, teachers and students have always been very loyal and helpful.
I attended Balgowlah Heights in primary school and Stella Maris College, Manly, in high school. I have always been an active student and got involved in many extracurricular activities. During my primary school years, I performed at the School Spectacular, with a limited number of students, selected from schools across Australia I was involved in P.S.S.A (Primary School Sport Association) and played all kinds of sports including tee-ball, softball, netball and soccer. I went to the state finals for shot-put after placing first place in my year group.
It is quite a flashback thinking of the best times and things I did at Balgowlah Heights. Despite having a FM device, which I wore while my teachers wore a microphone, and having to change my batteries frequently, I was just like all the other students: young, active and always happy. Students in my year were aware that I was deaf and had a Cochlear™ implant, they all respected me and loved that I could lip read their lips without sound coming out of their mouth. They always made sure that I would join in their activities such as Chinese whispers. The person next to me would take me aside away from the group, tell me what had been said, then we would run back into the circle and I would pass on the message.
In Year 6 when all students were busy writing our favourite memories of primary school for our end of year book, one of the students reminded me of a time in Year 4 when my teacher was wearing the FM device. She left the classroom for a moment with it on, and I caught her shouting at three boys. I immediately told the class which they all loved and found hilarious. I was also a Sports Captain, selected by fellow students.
Year 7 and Year 12 would have to be my favourite years in high school. In year 7 I loved meeting new people from different schools, and learning some French. I felt very grown up having to catch a bus to and from school and to do some independent study for exams. In Year 12, I was appointed as International Prefect. In this role I organised events for exchange students, including the International BBQ and International Night Out. This helped them to settle in and to have a great time. I spoke in front of the school on Harmony Day discussing differences. I shared my story and explained that I am profoundly deaf and have a Cochlear implant.
I studied Visual Arts throughout high school. In my final year, I was required to create a major artwork. I painted three large abstract paintings using acrylic oil paint and impasto gel to create thick lines and texture. I painted three different sound waves and used different colours to represent the progress of my hearing over the past few years. The first painting to the left consist of different tones of blues representing unclear hearing, I added more colours in the next two painting to show that over the years as technology improved, so did my hearing. I love visual arts and how everything has a meaning behind it. I was lucky enough to have my major artwork selected to be displayed in the Express Yourself Exhibition in Manly.