December 6, 2023

By Peri Sualp ….

This week the world lost a very important iconic figure – Stephen Hawking. Such a great loss for humanity. He died on Wednesday 14th March after complications due to ‘amyotrophic lateral sclerosis’ which is a neurodegenerative disease.

He was only 21 when he was diagnosed with this disease and his doctors had told him he had only two years to survive but he managed to live more than four decades. He was not only an important scientist but also he was an inspiration to many people. I admired him so much that I joined in a presentation competition in order to represent him when I was in year 3 at the English School of Kyrenia (ESK).

I was chosen by my class for the competition in 2014 which was going to be held among the whole primary school. I came to school with a wheelchair and pretended I was Stephen Hawking who came to our school for a visit and talked about himself. I recorded my speech on my i-pad where the sound was supposed to come out from a bluetooth speaker and I was going to sit in the wheelchair and the speech would be heard through speakers. I could only do it until the halfway point because the teacher who was helping me, had problems with the i-pad and the second half of the speech couldn’t be heard. 

I was so upset and shut myself in the restroom crying. Later I found out that I came third but it didn’t really matter because the most important thing was to introduce Stephen Hawking and pass on his message. You can find my speech below that I now dedicate to him. His theories and books and knowledge will live forever and I hope he rests in peace.

“Hello children

My name is Stephen Hawking.  I came all the way from England to ESK just to meet you.  How are you?

As you know from your lessons, I am a Scientist and Astrophysicist. Who knows what that means?

That’s right, I study light, motion and forces in the universe. I have lots of theories about universe and black holes in it. I have proven many of my theories and that’s why I became a very important person in the science world. “I am known as the Master of the Universe.”

I have also written many books including children’s books. Maybe you would like to read some of them during your coming summer holiday.

Let me talk about myself a little bit.

As you see I am in a wheelchair. That’s because I cannot move due to a disease called ALS . I also cannot talk. Many of you may wonder how I can speak without moving my lips. Of course I am not a ventriloquist. I use a touch pad computer and a voice synthesizer and by the help of these, the sound comes out, so that you can hear what I want to say.

I was born in England in 1942. I was a normal and very smart child as you all are. When I grew up and went to a university to study, I started to become clumsy and my speech started to become slurred. That was the beginning of my illness. Even though the doctors say  I could only live for a couple of more years, I managed to come to the age of 72.

During the years I became totally paralysed and speechless but I never stopped working and I never gave up from my goals in life. Do you want to know what was my major goal in life?

“My goal is simple: it’s a complete understanding of the universe; why it is as it is, and why it exists at all.”

It was really nice talking with you and knowing you but before I go, I would like to say one more thing.

“Remember to look up at stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious! And however difficult life may seem, there’s always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that, you don’t just give up.”

Thank you all for your time.

Goodbye children“

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