Din­gle Awards

Hamilton Metro News - - FRONT PAGE -

Four of the Waikato re­gion’s most in­spir­ing Ki­wis have been hon­oured for their courage and out­stand­ing com­mu­nity con­tri­bu­tion, as part of the Graeme Din­gle Foun­da­tion’s 2017 Excellence Awards, held at Gov­ern­ment House in Auck­land.

Ray­nard Hag­gie and Andrea Thomas re­ceived the Kiwi Can Out­stand­ing Team Leader Award, for their work at Huntly West School. This award is pre­sented to a Kiwi Can leader team which makes a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in the lives of young peo­ple in their lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“We are very ded­i­cated to our stu­dents at Huntly West and for my­self I feel as though the stu­dents that at­tend the school are like my own chil­dren,” Andrea says. “Al­though it may sound re­ally cliche´ , if both Ray­nard and I can help change at least one or two stu­dents at­ti­tudes to­wards life, this then means we are do­ing our job right.”

For the 200 in at­ten­dance, the evening was also an op­por­tu­nity to hear first-hand the ex­pe­ri­ences of a num­ber of grad­u­ates who have taken part in the Foun­da­tion’s trans­for­ma­tional jour­ney, and the pos­i­tive im­pact it has had on their lives.

A Stars Peer Men­tor Award is given to a stu­dent who is mak­ing a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in the lives of ju­niors in their school, and this year it was awarded to Year 13 stu­dent, La­haina Solomon of Toko­roa High School.

“I am priv­i­leged to re­ceive this award but I be­lieve that I would not be able to ac­cept it with­out recog­nis­ing the hard work of my 60 men­tors, seven se­nior men­tors and fel­low head stu­dents,” La­haina says. “To­gether, we have been able to lead the Stars pro­gramme within our school, and tran­si­tion our Year 9 stu­dents from in­ter­me­di­ate to high school.

“We be­lieve in mak­ing this tran­si­tion as easy and en­ter­tain­ing as pos­si­ble for our stu­dents, and we are grate­ful to see that our in­vest­ment and con­tri­bu­tion to­wards our stu­dents is be­ing recog­nised by the Graeme Din­gle Foun­da­tion.” La­haina said.

Fraser High School‘s Kaha Head was also hon­oured, re­ceiv­ing the Ca­reer Nav­i­ga­tor Out­stand­ing Achieve­ment Award. Ca­reer Nav­i­ga­tor is a ready-for­work pro­gramme de­signed to help guide sec­ondary school stu­dents. The award ac­knowl­edges the out­stand­ing progress made by a grad­u­ate.

“Be­ing on the Ca­reer Nav­i­ga­tor pro­gramme this year helped me in a big way,”Kaha says. “I have gained con­fi­dence, my school work has im­proved, I have goals for the first time ever and have de­cided I want to pur­sue a ca­reer in en­gi­neer­ing.”

The evening ac­knowl­edged the sig­nif­i­cant ac­com­plish­ments of 15 suc­cess­ful young Ki­wis, many of whom have climbed big moun­tains to build re­silience and self-be­lief. It was also a cel­e­bra­tion of more than 24,000 stu­dents, their men­tors, lead­ers and vol­un­teers who have been in­volved in the Foun­da­tion’s var­i­ous youth de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes over the pre­vi­ous 12 months — in­clud­ing Kiwi Can, Stars, Ca­reer Nav­i­ga­tor and Project K.

The Foun­da­tion’s name­sake, moun­taineer and out­door ed­u­ca­tion pioneer, Sir Graeme Din­gle, says the Awards are an im­por­tant op­por­tu­nity to show­case a se­lect num­ber of in­spir­ing Kiwi kids who ex­em­plify the goals and val­ues of the Foun­da­tion.

“Our goal is to trans­form young lives for­ever, with a vi­sion that all young peo­ple can be con­fi­dent con­trib­u­tors to New Zealand. By the year 2025, our mis­sion is to have helped 50,000 young peo­ple in our pro­grammes each year. It’s nights like this which serve as a strong re­minder that in­vest­ing in our coun­try’s young peo­ple is the best in­vest­ment New Zealand can make.

“The awards high­light not only some of the cir­cum­stances and harsh re­al­i­ties a lot of our Kiwi kids face, but most im­por­tantly, cel­e­brates their courage and re­silience to be able to come out the other side too.

“It’s these young peo­ple who will serve as role mod­els to those in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions, help­ing us to chal­lenge oth­ers to change their per­cep­tions of what they think they can achieve. And for that, they ab­so­lutely de­serve recog­ni­tion. We could not be more proud of each and ev­ery one of our win­ners,” he said.

Graeme Din­gle Excellence Awards cel­e­brate out­stand­ing young New Zealan­ders across all the foun­da­tion’s pro­grammes and has been run­ning for al­most two decades.

Photo / Michael Daw­son, Tem­poshot

(Left to right): Andrea Thomas, La­haina Solomon, Kaha Head, Ray­nard Hag­gie.

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