Basketballer catching up on school
When Charis Tuitama decided to follow her passion and play basketball in the United States she knew it could spell trouble for her education.
But she couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
Now the 17-year-old is determined to put in the hard yards off the court and get a tertiary education.
‘‘I couldn’t say no to the chance to do what I love in the country where basketball comes from,’’ she says.
So the Blockhouse Bay youngster left home while in year 12 to take up a place at Salmon High School in Idaho. But after a year away, not even an offer from a US college was enough to keep her away from New Zealand.
‘‘I’m a homebody, I didn’t want to miss not being here anymore.’’
The decision to return home meant she needed to catch up on her education.
‘‘I’d just finished adapting to one very different way of learning to have to switch back. ‘‘It was a struggle. ‘‘I managed just enough but not to do what I want.’’
Charis is spending the next six months on a Unitec Bridgepoint programme so she can then begin her studies in architecture.
The bridging programmes are designed to bring students up to speed for certificate, diploma or degreelevel study, and get them on track for the career they want.
On March 9 a group of about 30 Unitec Bridgepoint engineering and art students worked with a group of students and professors from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design who are visiting from the US for a semester.
The hands-on workshop at Motat challenged the students by giving them limited resources and time to build a machine that would take the longest time to deliver an object into a cup.
Motat education co-ordinator and facilitator Nicole Jones says the informal learning experience of ‘‘tinkering’’ is vital to the programme. ‘‘A key element of the museum’s strategy is to showcase Kiwi ingenuity and technology to educate and inspire the innovators of tomorrow and that is definitely what we have experienced here today.
‘‘It’s been amazing to watch the students get hands-on and work together to tackle the challenges creatively.’’
Second chance: Charis Tuitama, 17, is trying to make up lost ground with her education after leaving to play basketball in the United States.