‘Great five years’

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KARO­LINE TUCKEY

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.

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