Brickbats to bullies

Toastmaster Vanessa Joe says bullies can become just a brick in the wall. Photo supplied

BULLIES will one day become “just another brick in the wall” says a former target of schoolyard jerks who’s left them behind to become a rising star.

Melville resident Vanessa Joe (21) recently out-talked some of the state’s best speakers to win the Toastmasters divisional final and earn a place in the national finals this weekend. If she wins, the next round will pit her against international competitors.

A member of the Murdoch Southsiders in Bull Creek, WA’s biggest Toastmasters club, Ms Joe has only been taking the floor for the last two years but has already taken out three of their competitions.

Her speeches centre around bullying, body image, racism and women’s rights.

“It isn’t about winning the title, it’s about two things: number one, to raise awareness on issues that will not only be affecting my generation but future generations as well, and also for WA to finally get some level of international recognition for its talents and capabilities,” Ms Joe said.

Her father Joe, who coaches her, said the competition has only been won three times by an Aussie since the first was held in 1938 – all were eastern staters.

Due to Covid the competition will be held on Zoom.

Murdoch Southsiders meet every Tuesday at the Bull Creek Community Centre (behind the library) at 6.45pm.

As for the bullies, Ms Joe told the Herald: “I know it sounds extraordinarily cliche, however, it really does get better. The people that are causing you this pain now are not going to be in your life forever.”

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