An interview with Bella Merlino
Rachel: Hi Bella, could you let everyone know what grade you are in at school?
Bella: I am going into year 8 in 2018
Rachel: When did you start speech and drama classes?
Bella: I started when I was in year 2. My teacher contacted my parent's as she had concerns with my "lack of involvement" in class activities.
Rachel: So what did your teacher say?
Bella: The teacher told my parents I would not participate in class activities or offer my opinions and suggested I do speech and drama in an attempt to "bring me out of my shell".
Rachel: What happened when you started speech and drama classes?
Bella: I slowly began to grow in confidence and began to communicate without fear or reservation.
Rachel: When did you enter your first Eisteddfod?
Bella: When I was in year 4 and I never won or placed at the Eisteddfods then but it helped build my confidence in front of an audience.
Rachel: Do you still participate in Eisteddfods now?
Bella: Yes, I love participating in Eisteddfods and now I win multiple awards across a variety of sections such as poetry recitation, character recital, public speaking and mime.
Rachel: How do you handle times when you may not win an award?
Bella: I want to get better and better at speech and drama so I listen to my teachers and adjudicators. I may not always agree with the adjudicator's decision but I keep an open mind and take it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Rachel: What tip do you have for other students learning speech and drama?
Bella: Practice, practice, practice - be well prepared.
Rachel: What do you think is the most important skill that a person can have?
Bella: The ability to communicate effectively. It can make the difference between "getting that job" or whether people take you seriously or will listen to you. You need to be heard and have a voice.
Rachel: What has learning public speaking, speech and drama done for you?
Bella: It has opened many doors for me - I have been asked to judge film competitions and present speeches to various bodies. I have also been proud to represent my school in inter-school competitions.
Rachel: What is the secret of your success?
Bella: My parents are very supportive and know the value of speech and drama. I am lucky to have Rachel Hennessy guide me as my teacher and I have other teachers who support me as I grow and develop through my studies of speech and drama.
Rachel: Where to from here?
Bella: I want to make the world a better place and speak about the rights of girls/women in Australia. I want to use my speaking skills and competitions as a forum for the need for girls/women to be treated equally. I want a strong voice that will be heard and will help bring about change for the better.