Primary pupils focus on leadership

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Tapanui and Heriot primary school pupils got the chance to hone their leadership skills this week.

Twenty-eight year 6 pupils from Tapanui School and eight year 6 pupils from Heriot Primary School attended the National Young Leaders Day in Dunedin.

Tapanui principal Antony Criglington said the event was held in seven centres throughout New Zealand and aimed to inspire and motivate pupils.

“It is primarily about promoting positivity,” Mr Criglington said.

“It empowers students to follow their dreams.”

This was the fourth year the school had sent pupils to the event.

In the first year, pupils went as a one-off because the school was looking for an event for their young leaders, Mr Criglington said.

“They came back so full of energy we decided to do it again. It is very likely we will keep going back.”

Each year there was a variety of inspiring speakers from different backgrounds.

Speakers on Monday included Auckland actor Aaron Jackson, Abel Tasman beach campaigners Duane Major and Adam Gard’ner, former Silver Fern Jodi Brown and hairstylist Matt Brown.

The event had a musical guest to entertain the pupils. This year, Nomad performed.

The event also gave pupils a chance to meet their counterparts from other schools throughout Otago.

“The children do sit in school groups but they do meet other people,” Mr Criglington said.

This year Tapanui had a bigger group of year 6 pupils which made it more challenging for the school to transport them all to Dunedin. It cost just over $2000 for transport, Mr Criglington said.

The school received money from the Mataura Licensing Trust and Tapanui Men’s Fellowship to subsidise the trip.

“There is a cost but if we can reduce the cost we do. Without them [sponsors] the trip would cost a lot more.”

Pupils had the chance to tell the rest of the school at an assembly what they had learned.

“They get to share their learning with the school and inspire the year 5s for next year,” Mr Criglington said.

Heriot Primary School principal Colin McHutchon said the school had sent pupils to the event for the past three years.

“It’s a really, really good day. The speakers are really good,” Mr McHutchon said.

The conference aligned with the school’s values.

“It really just reiterates what we are trying to teach the kids,” he said

The event encouraged pupils to look at the bigger picture.

“It shows them that just because they are from a small place doesn’t mean they can’t achieve big things,” Mr McHutchon said.

The pupils from Heriot had lunch with their counterparts from Tapanui.

“It was nice to be able to collaborate with Tapanui School.”