Set goals and work hard, Southland MP Joseph Mooney told young people at an Otago Daily Times Class Act celebration in Gore on Friday.
The annual awards, usually presented by the Prime Minister of the day, are held in Dunedin to honour top high school achievers in their final year.
Instead of Jacinda Ardern, Mr Mooney was the guest at a celebration lunch organised by Blue Mountain College principal Lindy Cavanagh-Monaghan after the official event was cancelled due to the South Island being at Alert Level 2.
Blue Mountain College’s Archie Body, (18) Caleb Stuart, St Peter’s College’s Alice Napier and Ben Aynsley and Gore High School’s Tarryn Hutchins (all 17) and Libby McChlery (18) received the Class Act award.
The lunch was also attended by the pupils’ parents and the principals of the schools they attend.
Mr Mooney said billionaire Peter Beck who grew up in Invercargill and at school had a plan to launch rockets into space, was a good example of how to succeed.
“If you have a dream and ambition and do the hard work and stay true to your vision you are going to achieve incredible things.”
It was obvious the pupils already knew the importance of working hard to get their goals.
“It will stand you in good stead for the future.”
“The world is literally your oyster.”
Ms Cavanagh-Monaghan said it was important to recognise the achievements of the pupils.
“I decided that we needed to make it as special as we could for the students because it wasn’t their fault [the event was cancelled] but also this is also a huge honour for them to win this award out of all the people in their year group.”