Nayland College student and 2017 student leader Vika Piukala has been in leadership roles since the primary days.
Draco house leader and student board representative Fynn Sawyer excels not only academically but in helping the environment also.
Some believe in fate, while others would call it luck. Whichever Alana James believes in, she’s extremely pleased to have her name drawn as the Youth Representative on the Nelson Arts Council.
New student leader Andre Castaing is very well known around Nayland College.
Year 13 student leader Sam Seelen enjoys being able to have a positive impact on Nayland College. Sam has attended Nayland since year 9 but only decided he would like to run for the role as a student leader last year.
The social environment at Nayland, as well as the world wide environmental crisis, are both important issues that concern 2017 student leader Indigo Levett. However, leadership is not the only thing on her plate.
After learning English for 10 years, German exchange student Inka Hoehne was given the opportunity to experience life and sport in a different country for a year. The choice to live in New Zealand for a year was ultimately up to Inka, with input from her little brother, who agreed on her chosen destination across the globe. “I was like, ‘wow, New Zealand’,” said Inka, recalling the thought of visiting such a foreign country.
Once here Inka became a team player of local hockey team, Waimai United and noticed that playing hockey in New Zealand is very different than in Germany. “I played in a really, really, really, really good team and they always had to win everything,” said Inka. “It’s so much more fun here, just to have fun.” What interests her about hockey is the team playing aspect and success that everyone shares a part of. “You have together this success if you win, or you lose together.”
While staying in New Zealand, Inka tried a handful of different activities such as tennis and athletics. She admits to having a love for sport, though since her time in New Zealand has come to a close, her priorities have changed. “I just want to spend as much time with my friends, so I stopped,” she said.
Besides studying at Nayland College, the 16 year old and her family have travelled around the South island as well as up to the Bay of Plenty. “I did a bungy jump in Queenstown and that was one of my highlights.”
Inka spoke of how the bigger cities in the South Island made her think of her home in Hamburg. “I missed the big city feeling, so I was really happy that New Zealand has a big city as well, that was cool,” she said.
The move to New Zealand was a challenge for her younger brother, who couldn’t speak any English. Inka admitted that her family spoke German at home because her brother wasn’t fluent. “He enjoys it and it’s probably really exciting speaking another language,” she concluded.
Inka said that her family loves New Zealand and the way that everything is much more relaxed. “In Germany, it’s always stressful. Everyone needs to be on time and everything needs to be planned and everyone is always in a rush,” she said. Here the attitude is very different. “Everyone is like, ‘don’t worry about that too much’,” Inka said.
Inka met many new people from all around the globe on her exchange to a country that she hadn’t been before, including the friends she has made at Nayland College. “I’m pretty sure that I’ll come back even after I’ve finished school, to travel and meet my friends again.”
With an Excellence endorsement for Level 2 at the end of Year 11, Andre Castaing may have the opportunity to attend university at the end of 2016, earlier than most students his age.
The high achieving Year 12 student said that the key to his success is about enjoying learning and being enthusiastic about it too. “It’s about just maintaining a positive mindset and being prepared to do the stuff that needs to be done,” he said.
“It’s interesting seeing my class from when I started at Nayland, and the ones who just haven’t cared, have struggled,” he said when he spoke about the learning attitude of some students.
While most of the other students in his year group intend to sit for Level 2 credits, half of Andre’s six subjects are at Level 3. “I should get University Entrance this year and fingers crossed, Level 3 with Excellence,” he said.
The keen learner gave credit to his Year 9 accelerate English teacher, Ms. Forder, for enforcing the quote, ‘Self determination is the most important factor for the outcome of your life’ on her students, right from the beginning of the first term.
“I think that’s become self fullfilling overtime,” he referred to the quote from one of his first teachers at Nayland and the impact that it has had.
Andre said that the accelerate classes at Nayland are beneficial and cater for the students who need them. “A lot of that is about pushing students to where they want to be, but the students need to have some enthusiasm nurtured in them first,” he said.
As for New Zealand’s education system, Andre said that there are definitely some aspects that could be improved, although he said that lot of learning that takes place depends on the teacher.
He said that having an enthusiastic teacher, “Makes you enthusiastic about learning, so it means that you are engaged, you’re enfranchised, you’re enjoying it,” then added that Mr. McLellan helped him to enjoy his learning.
“Learning is progressive. You could say that the first time that you learned to write was the first time you learned to hold a pen and scribble, or the first time you did maths was the first time you counted, ‘one, two, three four,” said Andre, when he commented on the learning capability of students.
Andre said that his perseverance is what allowed him to do well in school. “You have to, have to, have to ask the questions when you don’t understand things,” he said.
For Nayland College’s pupil, Andre is yet to know what career he wants to pursue for the rest of his working life, or if he will even attend university. “Perhaps something sciencey, something commercey, maybe engineering, maybe air traffic control,” said Andre.
The decision to attend Nayland College came down to the location of where his family bought a house, that ended up being close to the school.
“I prefer co-ed school because I think it has a better atmosphere about it,” said Andre, although the decision ultimately came down to location. “We moved just down the road, it would make no sense to go anywhere else.”
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.
Selected three years ago for the New Zealand Elite Touch Academy, a back injury prevented Taylah Kirker from attending. Now she is back into sport, as well as being one of 2016’s Student Leaders.
A committed sports player, Taylah spends her free time involved in touch, netball and basketball.
“I was always quite a tomboy growing up. We had a farm in Murchison so we’d spend heaps of time down there. I was always on the touch field” she said.
Outside of school, she spends a lot of her time training, playing and travelling with sport. She is also interested in music, with broadcasting as her number one career preference.
A natural leader, Taylah has been involved in leadership roles ever since she was a child. “I was bossy from a young age, that’s for sure” she said.
One of the first opportunities that she pursued was a place in her primary school’s council. She also became one of the first sports leaders at Tahunanui School.
She admitted that she was pushed to pursue the role as one of Nayland College’s Student Leaders by her older brother in a case of sibling rivalry.
“My brother was a student leader when I was year eight, so ever since he got it I was like, ‘I want to get that too, I want to be better than my brother’. I think it was him pushing me the most to get it” she said.
Taylah is confident about influencing the school in a positive way.”I hope to make a difference. Everyone says that they want to do this but I want to be the one who does make the change.”
Through being a student leader, she wants to become broader and step outside her comfort zone. “I’m not a shy person but there’s certain things that I just don’t want to do. To develop more as a person would be my main goal.”