The proud faces said it all at the recent EIT Tairawhiti Trades Academy prize giving.
Around 60 of the 100 students from schools throughout the East Coast, Gisborne and Wairoa districts were on hand to receive certificates for their efforts, and applaud those who won special awards.
Also there to help celebrate the achievements of the first high school students through the scheme were former Minister of Education Anne Tolley, who had been a driving force in ensuring the programme got off the ground, EIT chief executive Chris Collins and his deputy Claire Hague, and EIT Tairawhiti council member Nori Parata, along with tutors, whanau and supporters.
Ms Tolley said her introduction of trades academies to the nation meant they were a project “very dear to my heart”.
Too many times it had been said that students were failing the (education) system.
“Actually the system was failing the students – we needed to change,” she said.
“The aim was to provide a more flexible way of learning – to allow students to achieve better academic results alongside vocational training,” she told the 100-plus gathering. “You are living proof that not only has it worked, but trades academies have gone from strength to strength.”
The Schools Trades Academies @ EIT Hawke’s Bay and Tairawhiti comprise the largest regionally based academy in New Zealand, with 145 in Hawke’s Bay and 100 in Tairawhiti – on the back of such success, those figures were set to increase to a total of 314 between the two campuses next year.
Ms Tolley encouraged the students to continue with their education path.
Ms Hague said she had every confidence those who had completed the academy could go on to make careers anywhere in the world.
“I’d like you to think about how you can use your new-found skills and talents to support your own communities here in Tairawhiti,” she said. “If the purpose of education is to change the world, then what better place to start than in your own world right here in Tairawhiti.”
She encouraged those at the prize giving to make the most of their youth, drive, talent and new way of looking at things.
“The power lies in your hands to make Tairawhiti an even better place for you, your children and for the generations of the future.”
All of the speakers paid tribute to the commitment from the students, their families and the tutors.
Students from as far north as Te Araroa, through to Wairoa in the south, headed to the Tairawhiti campus each Friday this year to learn skills in hair and beauty, carpentry, automotive assembly, engineering, automotive and hospitality. While it gave some students a qualification, it also gave many a taste for a career, to see if it is something they wish to pursue after leaving school.
Hair and beauty, design artist of the year: Atawhai Morice (Te Kura Kaupapa Maōri a Te Waiu o Ngāti Porou). Passion for hair fashion award: Faith Tuhaka (Lytton High School). Avant garde stylist of the year: Sione Toa (Campion College).
Trade skills (carpentry), excellent potential to be a builder award: Dyllyn Evans (Te Waha O Rerekohu Area School). Top overall student award: Hamana Daymond (Te Kura Kaupapa Maōri a Te Waiu o Ngāti Porou). Excellent attitude award: Tihei Turei (Te Kura Kaupapa Maōri a Te Waiu o Ngāti Porou).
Trade skills (mini bikes), top mini bike award: Hamana Daymond (Te Kura Kaupapa Maōri a Te Waiu o Ngāti Porou). Top overall student award: Christian Aupouri (Te Kura Kaupapa Maōri a Te Waiu o Ngāti Porou). Most conscientious student award: Whakapono Taukamo (Te Kura Kaupapa Maōri a Te Waiu o Ngāti Porou).
Automotive, top overall student: Kawhia Smith (Te Karaka Area School). Most effective team member award: Marley Kelly-Koia (Te Waha O Rerekohu Area School). Most improved student award: Hone Haerewa (Te Waha O Rerekohu Area School).
Hospitality, outstanding achievement award: Kadesh Barnea Paiti (Lytton High School). Top cookery student award: Leighton Butler (Wairoa College). Top barista student award: Bernadette Burns (Lytton High School). Top cafe service student award: Baileyanne Rangi (Ngata Memorial College).