Peta Hooke (Class of 2008) wants to open up discussion about living with a disability and clarify what it means to live, as she does, with Cerebral Palsy.
Wheelers Hill student
During her time at Wheelers Hill Campus (Years 7 to 12), Peta studied hard, and enjoyed the beautiful grounds and the company of people who have become her lifelong friends. She was involved in a number of activities for Shaw House as well as achieving considerable academic success.
Peta’s best memory from her school days was her first business studies class in Year 8. It provided the moment where everything ‘clicked’ and when she knew for the first time that she could excel at a subject. If Peta could give her 17-year-old self some advice, she would say “hold on tight, as life isn’t going to go to plan no matter how much you want to control it, so enjoy the ride”.
When she was growing up, Peta wanted to be a disability-friendly, accessible travel agent. Since leaving Caulfield, she has completed a Bachelor of Business and Commerce degree and a Master of Tourism. Following those qualifications, she also completed an Advanced Diploma in Access Consulting, which broadened her understanding of accessibility for those with other types of disabilities. She has also completed a postgraduate research position in tourism, worked in marketing and social media and a community development officer for YMCA Victoria.
The I Can’t Stand Podcast
Since December 2020, Peta has created, produced and hosted ‘The I Can’t Stand Podcast’. The weekly podcast is aimed at answering questions listeners have about living with a disability and making misunderstanding disabilities a thing of the past. In her podcasts Peta opens up discussion so that her listeners can get a glimpse of the realities of living with a disability. Thus far she has discussed topics such as privilege, feminism, discrimination and body image. The podcast can be found on all major platforms including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.
Peta says that the process of starting her podcast has been incredibly freeing as she now has a voice through which she can help others understand what it is like to have a disability. She hopes to provide a clearer picture of why her disability is only one aspect of her life through her podcasts, and says that society should value all people equally, regardless of cultural background, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
Peta is proud of the fact that she is able to live independently despite her disability, proving many people wrong. In order to achieve this, she says that she has had to 1) believe in herself, 2) be slightly stubborn in her will to live the way she wants to and 3) always put a positive spin on the challenges she faces on a day-to-day basis. This inspiring outlook is echoed by many of Peta’s friends, who all showcase dedication, skill and pride in what they do, no matter the different paths they have taken.
In her spare time Peta enjoys the rich food culture that Melbourne offers, and loves trying the new trendy places that pop up now and again. While she is unsure what the future holds for her, especially after the unprecedented nature of 2020, she hopes to continue to be as happy as she is today.
We wish Peta all the best for the future and that know she will continue to move mountains for herself and others.
Want to read more about the amazing women in our community? Find more alumni profiles.