EIT Hawke’s Bay student Anneke Groenewald felt like an Oscar winner accepting the New Zealand Professional Beauty Industry’s “Best Student Award” trophy at a gala evening in Auckland.
Ecstatic to have made the finals, she remembers her head dropping into her lap and wanting to cry with happiness when she was announced the prestigious award’s winner.
“I was stunned. I heard my name in slow motion. My EIT tutors were embracing me and my knees went to jelly.”
Anneke, a second-year student on EIT’s Diploma in Beauty and Body Therapy programme, was one of five finalists chosen from entries nationwide.
This year was the first that the biennial award has gone to a provincial training provider. It was also a first for an institute of technology/ polytechnic.
Programme coordinator Theresa Styles and course tutor Paula Morris attended the dinner function to support Anneke. “It’s a good reflection of what we’re achieving here at EIT,” Theresa says of Anneke’s success.
EIT’s Beauty and Body Therapy Diploma programme has achieved consistently high results. Examiners for CIDESCO (Comité International d’Esthétique et de Cosmétologie) put students through their paces and EIT’s results are among the highest worldwide.
To enter the New Zealand Professional Beauty Industry’s award, students have to use initiative, preparing their own application.
“The students submit a portfolio which they must do in their own time,” Theresa says. “There’s not a lot of input from us at all.”
Putting together a portfolio was very stressful, Anneke admits – “but there was nothing to stop me from applying so I thought, why not”.
Her submission covered a lot of ground for someone aged just 21. Born in South Africa, her family moved to the USA when she was 12. Although they lived in Nebraska for seven years, things “fell through for us” in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York’s Twin Towers.
It became almost impossible for immigrants to renew their visas, and Anneke, who wasn’t able to work, drive or go to university, felt the only option was to find another country to call home. Moving to New Zealand, her family settled in Nelson.
She, meanwhile, found a job working as second-in-charge of Yves St Laurent’s beauty counter in the Wellington department store Kirkcaldie and Stains.
Wanting to be closer to her partner Farnie, working on a Central Hawke’s Bay farm, and impressed with what EIT had to offer, she decided to move to Hawke’s Bay – “a stranger to it all”.
For her portfolio, Anneke was able to submit excellent grades for class work. She had photos of make-up work done for competitions entered by EIT hairdressing students. And her work experience also includes a part-time job at Urban Retreat’s beauty clinic in Havelock North.
Her tutors provided testimonials.
After her dizzying success, Anneke is once again working hard on her diploma studies which she completes at the end of the year. Not that she sees that as the end of her education.
“My motto is to never stop learning,” this focused young woman says.