Discipline and teamwork are just a couple of personal attributes that Tessa Riley has learned through the CACTUS programme this year. Being a medic in the army has been a career choice for Tessa for a while now and CACTUS has aided Tessa in getting there faster. “[CACTUS] will look good when I apply because it’s something connecting me to the army and it’s not like I just woke up one day and was like ‘I wanna do it’,” she said. “That’s hopefully what I do and I’m just trying to make myself as competitive as I can for that.”
The ten week programme puts a lot of physical pressure on the students. They have to be at the Nelson Girls’ gym at 6am and run everywhere, lifting things like logs and tyres up Russell Street. Afterwards they continue on with a normal school day. Tessa looks forward to the testing sessions because they are the lightest ones on the programme.
She says that because it is all army based fitness, it will help with her own so she will be prepared for the army testing.
Tessa has to balance the programme with school work and her extra curricular activities. She played volleyball for a portion of the season and is playing netball in the upcoming few months. Tessa is a very team focused person and likes getting to know other people from different year levels, both juniors and seniors.
Sport has helped her to manage her time better so that she can fit all her commitments in. “I have gotten used to having to plan things out and used to being busy and having to work things around and being a bit more organised. I am quite busy so I have to try make the time when I can to actually study.”
Fitting in being a Cottage Contact, a member on the Sports Council and a Student Leader means that Tessa will have a full on year, but she intends to not let any one aspect fail. “I want to stay involved in things and to not do anything half-assed and don’t want to let people down and not do something fully.”
The Student Leader position was not something that she believed she would hold and was surprised when she got it. “I guess because you have been here for 5 years and you see what things could be improved, why not try it? I just wanted to put my own spin on it.”
This is the first year at Nayland that there have been Student Leader siblings and Tessa finds this both helpful and difficult. “It’s good for if we forget meeting or formal clothes but it’s a bit different because when we’re at school at meetings, we’re not brother and sister. We have to remain civil and we can’t fight or anything else so we have to remain like were more friends instead of related,” she said.
She is set apart from her other siblings that have been through the school because she prefers to do work in the background. Rather than being a loud “ra ra” kind of person, she tends to sit back and do things behind the scenes and will be motivated if there is an opportunity.