Seven-year-old Suki Ochsen won the 6-7 years verse speaking solo at the Isle of Wight Music, Dance and Drama Festival – beating 21 other children.
The victory was particularly well-earned because Suki was born with hemiplegic cerebral palsy, which affects her movement, mobility and speech.
She has been receiving speech and language therapy since she was three and she has to put extra effort in to her pronunciation to make sure she is clear and understood.
She performed the set piece, Sandcastle by J. Patrick Lewis, and was awarded a score of 88, earning her a distinction.
Suki is part of the Ella Sheppard School of Dance and has been learning drama with Jeni Law since September.
The adjudicator, Jenny Thornton, felt that Suki had embodied the poem.
Jenny wrote: “This was such a fun performance! You made me believe that you had really built that sandcastle. So keep working hard to make every word clear. Good work.”
Francesca Ochsen said: “This is such a huge accomplishment for Suki and she has worked so hard on her performance.
“To not only have the confidence to perform on stage, but to go on to win first in her class is a testament to her strength and determination!
“Suki wants to be a writer when she grows up and has already written several short stories and chapter books.
“Her love of words really came through when she was on stage and she really seemed to feel every word!”
Suki was very excited to perform and bounced back from the stage beaming!
Through giggles, she said: “I can’t believe I won and I get to keep the cup until next year! The other children were so good and did really well too. I’m so excited I can’t stop smiling!”
Francesca concluded: “We are all so proud of Suki! Her enthusiasm and joyful spirit are so infectious and she inspires us every day with how bright and creative she is!”
Are you taking part in the IWMDDF? We are hoping to publish as many pictures of happy competitors as possible in print and online, so if you are taking part in the event, we would love to hear from you!