Big changes coming up
Just one exam left each, and then here comes summer.
Eddie Callahan and Nani Kirk, Mana College’s head boy and girl, have worked extra hard this year, juggling social, sporting and academic responsibilities, on top of their duties as school leaders.
A lot has been expected of them – and, going by the way they’re hailed in the school grounds, they’re highly thought of by fellow students.
Eddie said he was honoured to be asked, about this time last year, if he would be head boy.
‘‘We had the interviews, and when I was asked, I didn’t even think about it, I just said ‘yes’. It was a cool feeling.’’
Nani was much the same, ‘‘overwhelmed’’ to be able to follow in the footsteps of a cousin, a past deputy head boy.
Both took to their tasks with maturity, recognising that while they were still equal with other students, they had to set a standard.
‘‘ No one treated us any differently,’’ Eddie said, ‘‘ but I think as a head student you have to have that balance – you need to relate to everyone and also be a role model, a leader that people will look to. You need to be humble, social and never a snob to others.’’
Both took NCEA Level 3 and, with one exam to go this week, they were confident – but not too cocky – that they had done enough to plot the next stage of their futures. Nani took information technology, music, te reo Maori, statistics, English and business studies.
On top of academic work, there was marching, Cook Island dancing and kapa haka. Also a keen netballer, sport had to take a back seat this year as assignments and extracurricular activities piled up.
‘‘I had to prioritise what was important. I was really socially active this year but I had to learn to say ‘no’ to things.’’
Eddie’s subjects were IT, calculus, design, business studies, statistics and English. He was named dux at the recent prizegiving, filling him with pride after a year in which he seriously knuckled down.
‘‘I knew this was my last year at school, and I knew I had one shot, so I went hard and really pushed myself.
‘‘ There were days when my mates wanted me to come out and I had to say ‘nah’, but it was worth it.’’
He played on the wing for the successful Second XV rugby side, which defeated a number of First XV sides this winter. It was his first venture into team sport after plenty of experience in the boxing ring.
Eddie and Nani are likely to attend the same lectures in 2011 at Victoria University, studying for a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration. They will commute for lectures and try to take up part-time jobs.
Both have still to decide on a career.
Eddie is minoring in accountancy, while Nani will minor in law, and both expect that a business degree will open doors.
‘‘I’d really like to start my own business one day, hopefully here in Porirua,’’ said Eddie. ‘‘I’m not too sure doing what; that could come in time.’’
Nani would also like to live and work in Porirua.
‘‘And I want to help my family in the Cook Islands.’’
Although both will still be living in Porirua, near friends and family, leaving Mana College for the final time won’t be easy.
‘‘It will be hard but I don’t think it will be the end of my involvement with the school,’’ said Nani, who has a brother at Mana and three other siblings due to attend.
‘‘Mana has always been so welcoming, and I’d love to be able to give something back in the future, maybe mentoring other students. It has been a safe place, and now I’m out in the big, wide world. Scary.’’ They’ll miss the teachers, too. ‘‘The teachers at Mana know how to relate to you, and adapt – they can be serious and fun at the same time,’’ said Eddie.
‘‘I’m definitely going to miss being here.’’
Last days: Nani Kirk and Eddie Callahan say college helped to shape their lives. Both will be living at home but attending Victoria University in 2011.