Olivia’s community really does appreciate her
I have loved every minute going to my local school. Living close by really helped. My parents don’t have to drive me and I can walk to Theatre-Sports and swim training. I learnt to be organised and independent.
Things got hard in Grade 10 when they changed the learning support system. Change is hard, and lots of my friends left. I had some great teachers and they helped me through. If something was too hard I would get a buddy to work with me.
In my last prize-giving night I won 3 awards: Living the Mission, Sports, and Trainee of the Year. My parents nearly fell off their chairs!
I did National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) courses every school holiday with a buddy who could do the course for free. That was amazing for both of us.
My advice is to put your hand up to be a part of everything you think you can do. You never know what opportunities can be waiting for you around the corner. You have to set a goal and work really hard until you get there.
I was a finalist in the 2018 Young Australian of the Year and awarded the Moreton Bay Young Citizen of the Year. So, I guess my community really does appreciate me! I love to let everyone know that people with Down syndrome can surprise you. You just have to give them a chance.