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Faculty of Education and Arts (WAAPA) - Student Speaker

Sunday, 23 January 2011, 1.00pm

Ms Ella McNeill

Pro-Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Graduates…

When faced with the daunting task of presenting a speech that was both humorous and inspirational for our graduating ceremony, I naturally turned to the one reliable source of information in the new age…YouTube. During my research I discovered speeches that involved freestyle rapping and interpretive dance. But whilst amusing, they proved to be of little help.

So I thought I would instead keep it short and sweet…


The relentless study, late night essay writing and years of hard work have paid off.

My time at ECU and WAAPA began when I was fresh from travelling and eager to delve into the course with as much energy and dorky motivation as the one and only Hermione Granger, and the nickname stuck…

Over the years I have been privileged to meet teachers and mentors who have guided me through the course. Lecturers and industry professionals have past on their wisdom and have pushed me to succeed. The energy and dedication of these individuals is truly inspirational.

Perhaps one of the most important things that we will take from the course are the friendships that have been made. I have a huge amount of respect for the people that I have met, some of whom I’m sure will be lifelong friends and others I’m sure I’ll come to know as fellow professionals and colleagues in the industry.

Completing our degrees is a testimony to our commitment. Regardless of where this particular degree will take us, it is an accomplishment that we should feel extremely proud of.

Graduation may signify the end of our time at ECU and WAAPA, but I believe it is the beginning of more incredible life experiences.

What next? Anything and everything. This may be the start of a rewarding life time career; it may be a stepping stone amongst an existing one, or just one part of a complete human experience. Either way, what ever you want to do in the future, do with as much energy and dedication as you have shown over the last few years.

I agree with the person who, when reflecting on graduation, said “think of it as your ticket to change the world.” We have new skills, new perspectives, and new opinions; we can create our own mark and make a personal difference. The world is yours, and you have the power to change it.

I will now leave you with the wisdom of the incomparable Dr Seuss and his poem,

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.

Thank you.

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