Amy Atkins loves words; any way, anyhow and all the time. She writes poetry, letters, stories and blogs, does speech and drama and reads voraciously.
Atkins is a 17-year-old Awatapu College student who has almost completed her Advanced Associate Diploma in teaching speech and drama.
She recently entered 12 classes at MPAC Speech and Drama Competitions and won the ultimate award: Young Performer of the Year.
Atkins gained five firsts and seven thirds and says winning the big prize was a thrill.
There is something else she says she is excited about. She has just had two poems accepted for two different publications.
"One is for the New Zealand International Poetry Society and the other is for Poems for Peace. I am so excited, you have no idea," she says.
Atkins loves the library and is not stuck for inspiration; she is quick to reel off a list of poets that she loves. The one she says that really speaks to her is New Zealand poet Glen Colquhoun. She owns all of his books and they get pride of place in her room.
"I was read to a lot as a child and remember bedtime stories. I have always loved to read. I was a full-on kid and was always playing with older kids and talking to anyone."
Atkins says she is naturally confident but after starting speech and drama lessons with Del Costello at Tall Poppies she has built on that.
"I was in the Tall Poppies (Youth Theatre Company) show of Pick a Pack of Pirates and it was my first time really doing anything like that. It was so much fun and I went on to speech and drama lessons. I have learnt to be invitingly confident, that's what Del has taught me."
It's something that Atkins carries on to the stage with her speech competitions and a skill that she uses in drama.
"I love theatre and performing, I sing, too, and love musicals. I enjoy intense theatre."
Atkins has plans to audition for Toi Whakaari Drama School when she finishes at college. It's notoriously hard to get into, so she is realistic and has a back-up plan to do the Massey Diploma of Expressive Arts.
Atkins won a Follow Your Dreams scholarship award through the Palmerston North Youth Council recently. The money she won has gone towards her speech and drama exams.
"Last year I thought I would become a vet, but now with having a taste of performing, big doors are opening up. It's exciting."
- Manawatu Standard
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