A first for Rori

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Rori Spaeth, Year 6 and school principal Steph McDonald are both excited for the AVID Australia event in Melbourne.
Camera IconRori Spaeth, Year 6 and school principal Steph McDonald are both excited for the AVID Australia event in Melbourne. Credit: Holly Thompson

A Year 6 student from Makybe Rise has become the first primary school student selected to speak at the Advancement Via Individual Determination professional learning event in Melbourne.

Rori Spaeth will present her speech to more than 600 teachers from Australia and America on November 27 and will focus on giving teachers ideas on how to better support their students.

Each year a student is selected to make a keynote speech at the opening of the event, but Rori will be the youngest to take the stage.

Makybe Rise Primary School principal Steph McDonald said Rori had only been at the school for one year, but had grown in so many ways over such a short time frame.

“When she arrived here she was very reluctant and scared to put herself out there and have a go because she experienced bullying at her previous school,” she said. “What she found here was it was safe to be her true, genuine self and what we have seen is this young person blossom and flourish.”

Ms McDonald said there had been a national competition to become the AVID student speaker and Rori had been encouraged to apply.

“She is not only WA’s first but also the youngest nationally to be selected to tell their story,” she said. “Rori’s story is really one which encourages teachers to never underestimate the impact they have on students, both in negative and positive ways.”

Rori said she had done some public speaking before which would help her be confident in front of such a big crowd.

“I have never been to Melbourne before so I am very excited not only for the speech but the tourism as well,” she said.

“I am hoping to enjoy myself and to get the message across that I may not have had the best past at other schools but there is always something teachers can do to help.

“Teachers really can help students improve and become the best versions of themselves.”

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