Kate Brown's Speech

By Kate Brown, Year 12 | Posted: Thursday November 24, 2016

Attached is the speech made by Year 12 student Kate Brown at the Year 10 Challenge Prize Giving last week

Success is something we all want to achieve in our lives. The type of success we aspire to can vary from person to person. Some people strive for academic success and becoming as highly educated as they can, others are more career focused and some simply see success as having a job, with weekends off hanging out with mates. I’m passionate about sports so success for me means pushing myself to do my absolute best - every time.

I believe success is a choice. You can sit around hoping for success or you can make it happen...its that simple. Set goals, work hard, persevere when things don't go as planned, but most importantly, just don't give up.

I’m the same sort of person as all of you guys. I'm just an ordinary girl from Geraldine. I love sport and I'm very competitive. I am the current New Zealand Go kart Champ and I have represented New Zealand in both Australia and America with motocross. The things that gave me these opportunities were goal setting, perseverance and lots and lots of hard work.

I started racing motocross when I was in year 10, about to face NCEA. Everyone was saying how hard NCEA would be and how much time I'd have to put into it just to pass. My problem was that at this stage I also had motocross sponsors who needed me to get results.

Because I got picked up by Backflips and Jeremy McKnight when I very first started racing, I had a really sharp learning curve...most kids who race motocross start really young, they have crashes at slower speeds and have years to build up the skills you need to stay safe.

The intensity of the training meant that I had a lot of accidents and broken bones. I had a really short time to learn all of the skills other kids had years to develop. Through all of this, my parents had a deal for me. To let me take control of my learning at school and face the matters that with balancing a bunch of different things at once would give me. With giving 100% effort and determination at everything I was doing, it wasn't easy. My parents didn't really want me to just pass NCEA level 1, they wanted me to do well. Id had quite a few broken bones during this time and had been knocked out a few times - the worst being when another rider ran over my head.

That particular accident lead to lots of conversations at home and at school. Teachers started saying my accidents were affecting my schoolwork ... and to be honest, they were. Concussion is a really bad injury - way worse than any broken bone. While my parents were supportive, I knew there were limits to how far I'd be able to push it and they were pretty concerned with the toll my crashes were having. Year 10 for me with school wasn't a good year.  My head injury had me really struggling with a lot of different things and school work was an issue. The deal I'd made with my parents to let me be responsible for my learning came under real pressure. Because I have the attitude of wanting to succeed at anything I am involved in, it really made me want to work even harder, make more sacrifices and prioritise so I was able to get back on track with my goals inside and outside of school. The qualities I'd put into making my recovery even quicker I believe are the qualities that you need in order to reach your goals whatever they may be. I know that there are people in front of me right now that have that exact mindset and have proven that with those attitudes and lots of hard work, anything is possible and anyone is able to achieve their dream. From the experience I went through with my head injury I can definitely say that with every negative experience, every time of struggle can then be viewed as an opportunity for huge growth no matter what pathway you take in life.

Luckily for me around this time Colleen Millsaps, one of the best motocross coaches in America, came over to New Zealand and had a week training at a track in Pleasant Point. A few weeks after that training we met up again with Colleen at the Australian Junior motocross titles. She invited me to go and train with her at her training camp in America and my sponsors were really keen for this to happen. Early on when I first had companies offer to sponsor me, I realised that once you get sponsored your riding is no longer just for fun, it's also now about whoever is sponsoring and helping you.

We all hear from so many different people today saying how important hard work really is .. and its so true. But hey, lets face reality and some days just aren't going to be your day. I totally believe it's in these days where your dream and passion to achieve your goal is won. If you stay positive and never give up this is when you will achieve your dream.

School agreed to let me have the full 1st term of NCEA level 1 off in order to be able to achieve my dream in America which I'm extremely thankful for. But nothing in life's free right? The training camp I was at was full on and had kids from all around the world there. You live and breathe motocross. You ride, do gym work, learn about nutrition and mental strength, then at the end of the day, you do school work.

One of the major reasons I'd been asked to go over there was to also represent NZ in a major national event. It was the most important race of my life and I wanted to win more than ever before. It was a big step up competing against the American riders and I'd worked really hard and had so many injuries in the build up for this one race.

There were 1000's of people there ... the pressure was pretty intense. One of the biggest skills I've learnt through motocross and probably through having a lot of accidents, is the ability to not worry about the physical side of events, to just concentrate on the mental side, and I believe this is true with everything in life. I can tune out from what's going on around me and focus on what needs doing. It was a really hard series of races but I managed came away with the win. It was without a doubt the best experience of my life.

With going back to school I'd made that deal to be responsible for my own learning and school had supported me so I wanted to succeed at school as well. I kind of needed to prove to school that they can trust us, if any of us had other stuff going on in our lives they could give us time off to follow our dreams and still be successful at NCEA.

I was an average student who had a pretty bad end to year 10 because of my head injuries and I was a term behind so I had a bit of catching up to do. I still had motocross and sponsorship commitments as well so the pressure was on. Everyone tells you that NCEA is hard, that it's a big step up from year 10 and it’s true, but the really good news is that its also really forgiving.

My competitive nature kicked in and I decided that I didn't just want to pass .... I wanted to pass with Excellence. This was another challenge. I still didn't have a lot of time as I still had sponsors to keep happy. But it is amazing what you can achieve when you really want to. I had set myself another goal, I worked hard and persevered. If I got a merit I found out what I needed to do to improve it to Excellence....that's the best part of NCEA. If I can do it, anyone can. The whole reason for me being here tonight is to help you guys understand that your destiny is really in your own hands. Hard work, perseverance and goal setting can seem like a bit of a hassle but the rewards are worth it and can be life changing.

Your dream might be safer than mine, it could be to do with music, drama or art, maybe it is academic or maybe it's another sport. It could be to do with computers, it actually doesn't matter what it is, whatever pathway you decide. I just believe it's really important to have a goal, to work towards something, the feeling you get from that success is just so cool. To represent your country is an awesome feeling and it's definitely achievable for anyone.

So to sum things up … the only person stopping you from going and achieving your dream - whatever that dream may be - is you. It’s not money or lack of support - it's just you. You have the power to make things happen for yourself. Decide what your dream or your goals are - take control - and just do it.