Another school’s misfortune has become Menzies College’s gain.
Eight Menzies pupils qualified for the New Zealand Hillary Outdoor Get2Go Challenge after competing at an Otago-Southland regional series event in Queenstown.
However, their place in the national final came after the winning school declined its spot.
Assistant principal Pete Wilkinson said his team was next in line, sitting 10% off the winner’s total.
After discussions with the college and the pupils’ parents, Mr Wilkinson sat the team down to tell them the good news.
“I asked what they thought about going to the national event and they lost their marbles.
“They thought I was joking at first,” he said.
Get2Go challenges are adventure races where year 9 and 10 pupils complete four different events in a team dynamic and are timed.
The Menzies team consists of Abby van der Straaten (15), Arin Read (15), Josie McLellan (14), Sophie Ferguson (13), Connor Wilkinson (15), Hunter Richards (13), Braden Poyntz-Roberts (14) and Max Bryson (14).
Mr Wilkinson said during the Queenstown event in September, his team completed a mountain bike, orienteering, problem-solving and aquatic challenge.
“They don’t know what the activities they are doing until they actually get to there.”
They competed against 10 teams at the regional competition and would face 12 at nationals.
Competing on the national stage, on Great Barrier Island, would be “pretty intense”.
“It’s a big commitment but it’s an opportunity that we can’t miss.
“Because it’s for juniors some of them would never get the chance again,” he said.
The team was training hard to get the best out of the experience.
It was the third year Menzies College had put a team together after he learnt about the challenge through his own outdoor adventures, Mr Wilkinson said.
“Teachers want students involved and doing something they enjoy.
“The opportunities for them are really exciting and becoming more accessible for them to get stuck in to it and activities involving the outdoors.”
The pupils savoured the opportunities the challenge presented them with.
“They love it – it’s been really awesome to see.
“[At nationals] they are going to get to meet lots of different kids from other areas and the camaraderie will be great.”