Champion Centre graduate, 18 year old Charlotte Holt, has earned a scholarship to study law and arts at the University of Canterbury, through her dad's work at the Lyttleton Port Company. Way to go Charlotte!
Charlotte's parents say Charlotte has a lot of empathy for others and has a strong sense of social justice and this could be attributed to her time attending the Champion Centre as a young child.She was a very relaxed but ‘floppy baby’. Charlotte was diagnosed with mild to moderate hypotonic cerebral palsy at 6 months by a paediatrician. Charlotte’s family was surrounded by friends’ children who had disabilities and they didn’t treat Charlotte any different.
‘We never put a label on Charlotte’s condition,’ says Mum, Jane.
She initially attended Milestones Centre for 3 months, to bridge the gap before she started at the Champion Centre at 9 months of age. Their fear as parents soon faded as they thought, ‘what would we do if we didn’t get into the Champion Centre? Their fears faded once wthey entered the Centre and received a lot of support from the staff and each other.
Charlotte started attending the Centre, mainly with her mum Jane, at 9 months old, once a week initially then fortnightly until just before she was two, at the end of 2004.
Charlotte’s Nana’s often came to the Centre for Charlotte’s sessions. ‘My mother often found it quite emotional when she visited the Centre, seeing what all these amazing children were achieving,’ says Charlotte’s dad, Chris. ‘While at the Champion Centre, Charlotte became very able, with her fine motor skills. As well as sessions at the Centre, we took her swimming a lot,’ says Jane. ‘Charlotte definitely developed her personality and talent from the Champion Centre, she received a lot of attention. She has become very independent,’ says Chris. ‘The staff that work there are incredible, very dedicated and amazing. Early intervention is so important, it’s your lifeline’, says Jane. Growing up she danced, sang, played sport and was very rhythmic. She then joined her two older sisters at Villa Maria College, where she became an esteemed public speaker and achieved her grade 7 Trinity Speech and Drama exam. Last year, Charlotte applied for a tertiary scholarship through Chris’ work at the Lyttleton Port Company, that was available for children of employees to apply for. Through a selection process Charlotte was awarded the scholarship. It is worth $10,000 and will be used to pay Charlotte’s university fees over two years. Charlotte says, ‘perhaps from my time at the Champion Centre and my love of public speaking, I gravitated towards studying social justice and law at university. It’s an opportunity to give back.’
Charlotte with her cup for, 'The student who has made the most progress' and a 'Cultural gold' certificate. Villa Maria College prizegiving, 2020.