Listen up: Katie proof hard work pays off

KOOTINGAL Public School Year 6 student Katie Magill is pure magic. 

At the school’s presentation night last week she was honoured with a number of awards and accolades for both sport and academics but the beauty of her story stems from the adversity she has had to overcome in her 12 short years, and the determination she had to do it. 

Katie was born profoundly deaf but wasn’t diagnosed with hearing loss until she was four years of age.

In the years after she was put through the ringer a bit, too. 

Not only did she have to learn to read and write like other children when she went to school, she had to learn to listen, with the help of hearing aids, and speak. 

After a regression with the hearing aids, she underwent surgery to have a cochlear implant in her right ear.

Last year she had another operation to have one put in her left ear, and as a result of those surgeries she had to start the process all over again. 

Her support teacher for the past seven years, Joan Campbell, said the change in Katie since they started working together had been “huge”.

“If you go back to the beginning and look at Katie’s audiology results, she should never have been able to speak, her hearing loss was so profound,” she said.

“Between there and now there’s been a lot of hard work, commitment and determination to get to where we are.”

The school awards presentation capped a huge year for Katie. 

She was presented with the school’s CWA Learning and Caring Award, a Dorothea Mackellar highly commended award for one of the three poems she submitted to the competition and a sporting Blue. 

A keen runner, earlier this year she represented the school, zone, North West and the state in the 100m  event. 

At a state level she was the only country girl with a disability to compete.

“It was good fun,” she said. 

Also a keen poet, Katie won an i-Pod last week for her poem Blue, which she wrote at a Spin a Yarn workshop for school children in Tamworth earlier this year. 

The poem will now be published in a book as part of her prize. 

Other extra curricular activities have also kept her busy.

“I played soccer for the school and am in the choir,” she said. 

This news follows Katie’s acceptance into the Tamworth High School gifted and talented class next year, when she starts Year 7. 

Mrs Campbell said Katie’s family, the school and her friends were hugely proud of her achievements. 

“She knows there’s nothing she can’t do and her persistence proves it,” she said. 

As proof, Katie said she hoped when she was older to become an audiologist. 

“So I can help young people who may go through something similar to me to understand what’s happening to them and how their life can get better,” she said.

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