Inspiring Australians Forum
Auspire held the third annual Inspiring Australians Student Forum with the generous support of the University of WA and Perdaman this week. Almost 700 students from metro and regional high schools attended to hear from Australian of the Year recipients at The Octagon Theatre.
The current Australian of the Year WA’s Dr Craig Challen and WA Young Australian of the Year Noelle Martin inspired the audience with stories of challenges they have both faced and overcome.
Noelle experienced unimaginable trauma when, at the age of 17, her images were stolen from social media by sexual predators and edited onto pornographic images and videos also adding her name and where she lived.
Being in the spotlight was the last thing Noelle wanted when she became a victim of revenge porn, but she used her situation to make a change for good. In June, laws were passed making it an offence to distribute non-consensual intimate images. The 2019 WA Young Australian of the Year said the ordeal changed her but she refused to let it destroy her.
Dr. Challen spoke of the heroic efforts he and his dive partner Dr. Richard Harris undertook as part of an international rescue mission to save twelve boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand in July 2018.
He spoke of the complexities of the mission, the importance of teamwork and his personal aspirations to strive for excellence in all aspects of his life but to retain a level of humility. Dr. Challen is keen to share his message of developing resilience from an early age, getting out and challenging yourself to build important life skills.
Students were quick to provide feedback on their experience saying “I really enjoyed both of the speeches, as although with very different stories they were both very inspirational and interesting.”
“I learned that bravery and courage not only comes from big acts but also small ones which can sometimes go unnoticed.”
The best aspects of the talks being “The fact that both the speakers were examples of everyday Australians, which we could relate to.”
“The variation in the two stories, both had personal struggles, but in two entirely different forms which showed that each one of us has a different story and we are all unique”
All those who attended are keen to hear of future opportunities to hear from such inspirational speakers.
Morgen Lewis, CEO of Auspire said “We’re extremely proud of both Noelle and Craig and to have a WA recipient as one of this year’s Australians of the Year is the icing on the cake. Dr Challen is proving to be an extremely popular choice and has a busy schedule, including many school visits, planned in the coming months. He and his counterpart Dr Richard Harris in South Australia will be a tough team to follow for next year but we encourage people to consider who inspires them and nominate”.
Nominations for the next Australian of the Year are open until 31 July 2019 and can be submitted via www.australianoftheyear.org.au