November 21, 2002
Deafness no barrier for Liz
From: Collie Mail, Western Australia
Nov. 21, 2002
COLLIE'S 17-year-old Elizabeth Abbey has been named as one of the state's most inspirational young people - for overcoming the restrictions of profound deafness in her academic, sporting and social life.
Elizabeth has already been named as the Bunbury District candidate for the WA Youth Minister's Positive Image Award and will travel to Perth next month to join 29 other district representatives where she will be in the running for the state title.
Speaking by sign language through her educational interpreter Leanne Ellery, Elizabeth said she felt proud to be selected as the representative for the Bunbury district.
"I was very happy, proud and excited: I couldn't believe it," she said.
Collie Senior High School's student council selected Elizabeth as the Collie candidate for the award after she was nominated by teachers at the school.
Ms Ellery says she puts 100 per cent into everything she attempts and always is determined to do her best at whatever she attempts.
"She was nominated for her perseverance and determination," she said.
"Liz is the only profoundly deaf student at the school - and this has been a big challenge for her.
"The kids her think she has a lot of courage to be able to achieve what she has."
Elizabeth's most remarkable achievement has been her ability to overcome communication difficulties and the sense of isolation that have resulted from her disability to go on and study two TEE subjects and three other non-TEE subjects this year.
"She has set a precedence. As far as we know, she is the only one with her condition who has been able to sit these exams," Ms Ellery said.
It is not just academic achievements that earned Elizabeth the nomination: her sporting achievements are also notable.
She plays and umpires netball, play volleyball and even swims when she has the time.
"Being able to umpire has been a truly remarkable achievement," Ms Ellery said.
In Perth, Elizabeth will attend a "Special Reward Day", spending the day at Scitech Discovery Centre, a preview of a new release movie, a luncheon at Parliament House and a twilight sail on the training ship "Leeuwin."
The luncheon will be attended by Minister for Youth Sheila McHale who will announce the award's six finalists with the overall winner being announced in April next year.
In the future, Elizabeth plans to continue working hard and hopes to become a teacher of deaf children.
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