‘Great five years’
It’s been a full-on year, but a good one, says Aotea College’s head girl, reflecting on her final year.
Being selected as head girl was daunting at first, Jannah Hibberd, 18, of Waitangirua says, but she is a firm believer in providing young people with opportunities to step up, and took the challenge herself.
‘‘I’ve loved every bit of it; the opportunities I’ve had to be a role model, leave my mark, and give something back to the school. I’m proof of having a great five years of secondary school if you just try your best and work hard.’’
As well as taking part in a ski trip, a short business course, stage challenge and playing in the first XI soccer team, she started a new school project – the paki paki (clap clap) box.
Students can nominate any other student for recognition by secretly noting down why they deserve a weekly paki paki award. ‘‘It’s a celebration of success. Any kid can get any award, not just for academics or sports, but for being good in general.’’
Many nominations have been for good friends and homework buddies.
‘‘Sometimes kids get missed out for what they do, but it’s a big thing being recognised and feeling belonging in society; it gives pride to students,’’ Jannah says.
Issues that are weighing on young people’s minds include working out what they want to be and discovering how they can get there, exploring the world and getting experience overseas, but most want to return home and find their place in society, she says. Having supportive teachers, parents and other adults to help provide guidance can make a big difference for young people working out their future pathways.
‘‘You need to use the people around you; get in and ask people and experiment, try things out, give it a go, take some opportunities.’’
Jannah is planning a year overseas visiting family in England, then working as part of the Camp America programme for 2012, before returning to study towards her goal of becoming a television presenter.
School’s out: Jannah Hibberd, Aotea College’s head girl 2011 has loved her last five years at the school and growing up in Porirua. It’s a great place, and ‘‘we have amazing people’’, she says.