To receive a gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award is an achievement in itself.
For one third of the recipients to come from one college in Tapanui is outstanding.
Last Saturday, youth from the top of the Northland to Invercargill met in Dunedin to receive their awards.
Blue Mountain College principal Lindy Cavanagh-Monaghan said when she saw all of them crossing the stage one after the other, she realised the enormity of the number of her pupils being presented with the award.
“I was ecstatic.”
“A lot of people start out on the programme. Not everyone completes it.”
“To see the number of them from West Otago who have stuck with it and continue to give community service, challenge themselves, and learn new skills was indeed a proud moment.”
Nineteen out of 57 of the awards recipients were from the college, and a further five former pupils were unable to attend.
For some of them to complete the gold level before finishing high school showed their dedication and tenacity to the programme, Ms Cavanagh-Monaghan said.
“The fact that all parents, grandparents and siblings were there on the day, showed how much the families in the community value the awards as well.”
In recognition of the school’s over-representation, current head girl Sandra Horrell (who completed her gold in year 12) was given the honour of delivering the vote of thanks speech on behalf of the recipients.
Sometimes in education it was easy to fall prey to the measurable outcomes, such as exam results and university entrants, when the important thing is the whole person, Ms Cavanagh-Monaghan said.
“This is where I think Blue Mountain College is doing an admirable job, giving our students every opportunity to develop in the broadest sense.”