Six year 13 pupils from Eastern Southland and West Otago were recognised for their achievements at the Otago Daily Times Class Act 2017 awards last week.
Blue Mountain College pupils Zach McKenzie and Jackson Kelly, St Peter’s College pupils Michelle Hendriks and Isaac Borgman and Gore High School pupils Josh Highsted and Emma Johnston travelled to Dunedin for the awards ceremony on Thursday.
The Class Act Awards recognised 56 year 13 pupils from throughout Otago and Southland for their academic, cultural and sporting achievements.
Jackson said he was “stoked” when he heard he had received the award.
Prime Minister Bill English presented the pupils with their awards in the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Jackson said.
“It was quite good going up there and listening to the Prime Minister,” he said.
“My favourite thing was probably listening to the Prime Minister’s speech – it was very focused on us and giving us advice and life lessons.”
Isaac said he also enjoyed the awards ceremony.
He was nervous about receiving his award on stage.
St Peter’s College had a list of the pupils who had received the award on the wall, Isaac said.
“I always wanted to be on the wall but I never expected to get there.”
Winning an award left him feeling “over the moon – it was pretty overwhelming.”
He advised year 13 pupils next year to apply for the award.
“Go for it – list everything you possibly can and don’t put it off.”
Michelle was also surprised to hear she had received the award.
“I was quite shocked,” Michelle said.
She enjoyed having her photo taken with all the other winners.
She was excited but nervous about meeting the other pupils, Michelle said.
She, too, advised everyone who was in year 13 next year to apply for all the awards and scholarships they could.
“You just have to put yourself out there. The worst they can do is say no.”
Receiving the Class Act Award mean the pupils automatically received the University of Otago Leaders of Tomorrow Entrance Scholarship.
Both Josh and Emma planned to use their scholarships and attend University of Otago next year.
“I plan to go to Otago to study health science in the hope of becoming a doctor,” Josh said.
He was “very surprised and honoured” to get an award.
He did not expect to received the award when he applied but he advised pupils in year 13 to apply.
“You’re not going to get anywhere if you don’t try.”
Emma said she enjoyed meeting people at the awards ceremony.
“I liked finding out all the different things they were doing.”
Otago Daily Times deputy editor Craig Page said the awards were first held in 2000.
“We started the awards to celebrate young people in our circulation area,”
He was very happy with how the ceremony went, he said.
“Bill English is only the third Prime Mister we have had at the awards, the first being Helen Clark and then John Key.”
“I think everyone related to [Mr English] really well.”