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Graduation Ceremony – 5th September

Another successful and exciting event for Curtin College students as they move onto the second year at Curtin University. It was great to see so many student receive their awards in front of  proud family members and friends. Here are a few pictures from the day, but let’s start with Irene’s valedictorian speech. It went a little something like this:

“Good afternoon ladies, gentlemen, fellow graduates, college staff, lectures and guests. My name is Irene Veliana. I am grateful to the selected as your valedictorian for our graduation ceremony. Let me tell you the story of my journey. 

I was born 17 years ago on the main island of Java, Indonesia. I was lucky to be born in Java because the sophisticated medical services improved my quality of life as I was born with blue feet. The first thing that came across my mind when my mom told me that, was that I was born as a Smurf! Thankfully I grew up normally, mostly.

As a child I was shy and didn’t make many friends. I survived through primary and secondary school, but high school was the toughest time of my life. My classes were fine but I was often bullied. Despite the challenges, I believe that there is always something you can learn from unfortunate things. I learned to respect others more. I learned to be more mature to face people who didn’t treat you nicely.

After one year in high school, instead of completing my A levels, I decided to move to Curtin College. Perth wasn’t that far from my hometown, just and 3.5 hour flight.

I still remember my orientation day,  my orientation leader was Malama. She took me for a campus tour and fed me lots of chocolate which gave me a very good first impression!

I stared out in Certificate IV, but discovered quite a jump in the transition to Diploma. Where did all this extra homework come from?! I did 5 units in my first semester of the Diploma. One of the most interesting units in that semester was Engineering Foundation Principles and Communication. In that unit, we had to design a bridge made of a popsicle stick and construct a car from a mousetrap, along with writing a report about the importance of safety in the workplace. I learnt a lot from this unit, especially in terms of my communication skills both written and verbal. I learnt how to talk to strangers and persuade them to choose our design. Moreover, I also learnt the importance of being environmentally friendly. As the future generation in this world, it is important to minimise waste for the future of our children.

In my daily life at Curtin, I lived in a homestay with an Indonesian family who cooked for me, so I didn’t have to worry too much about my food. The hardest part was learning to do my own dishes, laundry and make my bed, because in Indonesia I had a housekeeper who did that for me. It was a bit of a shock but I am glad to have learnt these new skills.

Life as an international student was hard at first. Sometimes I miss food from my hometown. Luckily I found an Indonesian food store in Victoria Park to help cure my homesickness.

In my third trimester at Curtin College, I decided to get more involved in the community. I joined the Student Leaders and Academic Peers. With these students, I feel that I have a new family. We have meetings every single week to plan events and activities and the bond between us is getting stronger each time we meet to organise the ball, barbecue, orientation, our adventure world trip and second hand book sales. I feel there is a special kind of pleasure serving this community at Curtin College.

There are several things that I won’t forget at Curtin College, especially the lecturers. Thank you to Mark Rank, the head of Engineering who is also my Materials lecturer. Thanks for always being passionate about teaching.

Thanks to Manora Caldera who always treats us like her own kids. I truly admire how much effort you put in for us, to push to study harder.  I’d also like to recognise my Communications teacher Renuka. She build my confidence to talk in public presentations, although I didn’t know she was preparing me for this.

I’m sure I speak on behalf of many graduates when I say I’m truly blessed to have a chance to get to know you all. I had a wonderful time here. Thanks for making me feel at home even though I’m thousands of miles away from my home town. Thank you for giving me a chance to become a valedictorian and speak to you today. 

Last but not least, remember that you have to take advantage of every opportunity that is put in front of you, no matter if it is though, or tiring, or you’re born with blue feet, get out there and make the most of your studies and your life!” 


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