Wyndham School pupil Hollie Kennedy is a rising star in her community after winning the Blake Young Leader Award, the first in the school to do so.
Waihopai-Toetoe Community Board chairwoman Pam Yorke presented the award to Hollie at a school assembly last Friday.
Hollie showed amazing leadership and her Ronald McDonald House fundraiser proved she had a fabulous understanding of others and is willing to support them with hard work, Mrs Yorke said.
Hollie said she had done a mufti day fundraiser, taken leadership courses and worked hard at school, but was surprised to receive the award.
She had her sights set on becoming a Black Fern. Principal Kim Scott said Hollie was a natural leader.
“She’s inclusive, she’s positive, she accepts everybody for who they are. She doesn’t step down to peer pressure.
“She naturally leads kids. She sees something needing done she’ll do it. She sees littlies upset in the playground she’ll sort it.
“Nobody needs to ask her, it just happens. It’s just her,” Ms Scott said.
“We asked our students who they thought the leaders were in their class. They acknowledged her just like we had. So it’s not just us. Everybody was thinking the same way.”
Hollie’s achievement was a win for rural schools, Ms Scott said.
“It’s a magnificent honour that one of our students are acknowledged this way.
“Being rural has magnificent benefits from the perspective that we have a whole community supporting kids. It takes a whole community to raise a child.
“If we all do this together, the kids are better for it,” Ms Scott said.
“It’s a privilege to have kids like Hollie coming through our system, standing up and being amazing leaders. We expect that they carry on and become fabulous community leaders as well,” she said.
“We watch them grow over the years. Our job is to nurture them in their leadership and acknowledge them and build their skills,” Ms Scott said.
It was tough being a leader, so it was important to build children’s self-confidence, she said.
“They’ve got to learn to be resilient and not let go.”
Hollie had a bright future ahead of her, Ms Scott said.
“I would expect to see her at head girl level, at community leader level.”
The Blake Young Leader Award is presented to year 5 to 8 pupils from about 350 schools throughout the country who demonstrate leadership qualities.
Other pupils to receive the award are from Dipton School, Pukerau School, Gore Main School, Longford Intermediate School, Northern Southland College, Lumsden School, Heriot School and Tapanui School.
Some of the pupils have not been informed about receiving the award yet.