My name is Lakeisha, I’m the current Ambassador of Ice Factor, having been a participant of the program for four years during high school. When I first began in the program I was a shy and insecure year fourteen-year-old. I was so afraid of humiliation that I often avoided asking for help from my teachers. One of my earliest memories of this is not being able to do maths equations in class, feeling too embarrassed to ask for help. This extended all throughout my life and still to this day I suck at maths. My peers would laugh at my inability to do basic maths, which eventually created my fear of getting questions wrong. So, maths is my biggest weakness, however this speech isn’t about highlighting how I still can’t tell you what nine times six is, but instead to remind you about how big an impact showing support can do for an individual.
Many of you have experienced times where you’ve felt alone or suffered hardships that make you feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world. And feeling alone in your darkest times can lead to you living in a world that seems cold. It effects your outlook on life and makes you feel as though you’re not going anywhere with life. I know because I was like this. I came into the Ice Factor as a student who felt isolated and despised. All of this because of issues around my family, my lack of confidence and having friends who didn’t understand. However, Ice Factor changed the way I looked at the world, instead of hearing laughter when I failed I heard my coaches and teammates encouraging me to get up and keep giving my all. I watched my peers become confident in their abilities and create strong friendships. I greatly admired them for how aspiring they became. I admired my coaches for pushing each and every player to do their best on days my peers couldn’t find the motivation themselves. My coaches would celebrate my accomplishments with me and ensured that they didn’t just know my name and dream job, but who I was. They ensured they learned what was bothering me on my bad days and what values I held so closely to my heart.
Though it took some time I myself was able to become a leader and find my way in the world. I became captain of my schools Ice Factor team and helped to motivate my team to become the best versions of themselves, not just in ice hockey but in their daily lives as well. I graduated high school, becoming a nominee for school DUX and receiving subject and community awards. I became a mentor for Ice Factor, then on my final tournament was appointed ambassador, a position I wish to work with all my heart. Ice Factor helped me to learn the skills I desperately needed and helped me to find the motivation I needed to push myself to accomplish remarkable goals. I did have my dark moments, health scares, financial issues, family problems, but I persevered, and perseverance is an ability which is highly valuable in both ice hockey and life. In year 11 I almost failed maths, making me consider if I could even handle year 12. Then at the beginning of last year I sat in my English class working on assignments that just weren’t good enough, leaving me to rethink whether my dream of being a publisher was achievable. But Ice Factor pulled me through, helping to support and motivate me towards that dream and help me give my all, the program supported me when barely anyone else did.
On December 20th 2018 I became one step closer to my dream. On that day I received a university offer into my first preference. Now this year I will be undertaking a Bachelor of Media majoring in Journalism at the University of Adelaide. And as for maths, well I’ll never be good at it but I’ve never used it in ice hockey, so I don’t stress about it too much. And as for my personal skills, my leadership and communication skills have developed in ways I never thought possible, which has seen me being offered a position on the Adelaide Adrenaline’s media team and the possibility of helping my workplace with their social media and blog. I also plan to help other Ice Factor students find their strengths and make their mark in this world. I remember the happiness I felt in my first week as a mentor when I helped a girl to overcome her fear of falling and taught her how to ice skate. The joy in her eyes as she talked to me was a heart-warming moment that inspired me to support each student as best as I could. And during my second week my coach who had been there since the first time I stepped on the ice told me that I was like a daughter to him, as someone who grew up without my father or a big loving family, I felt happy. Looking back now I realise that along the way Ice Factor had become a family to me.
Ice Factor has helped so many students to find their way in life, without it I wouldn’t be where I am today. Ice Factor is a symbol of what a human is capable of when supported. As ambassador I want all of you to know that this program has touched the lives of many. Not just the students but the teachers, the parents and the coaches.
So, thank you for listening, and I hope that you will have the opportunity to hear more from other participants who have had their lives changed for the better by this amazing program. And keep your eyes peeled because they will all be changing the world for the better in their own ways.