Attitude a winner for college teams
‘‘It felt like a family, everyone turning up for each other on time at trainings.’’
Sporting success at Porirua College saw nine Year 13 First XV players ask to return to school for an extra year.
Though college staff were working with them to move on because they had completed their academic study, their desire to return for an extra year of school highlighted a positive change in culture where previously the First XV failed to even complete a season.
Over the past couple of years, the college’s new head of sport aimed to change negative perceptions of the way people thought of the Cannons Creek school by instilling more pride in its students to support each other as a team.
Finishing Year 13 student and rugby first XV captain Eli Moata’a, 17, said all of the team’s Year 13s including himself wanted to return for an extra year after winning the top WelTec coed rugby premiership grade along with the Beard Trophy.
‘‘Our school’s not looked at as one of the flashest by other schools so this year’s just been an uplift for us.
‘‘It felt like a family, everyone turning up for each other on time at trainings. And support from our parents at every game.
‘‘Just having something to play for instead of just going out and playing rugby for the sake of playing.’’
It was a big change from a team that previously failed to complete the season because of a lack of commitment.
‘‘This year everyone was on the same buzz. It didn’t matter how old you were or what culture you are everyone was like brothers this year.’’
Moata’a planned to play with the Norths Rugby Club next year.
Head of sport Dan Squire said the school’s coaches, managers and volunteers were integral to the students’ success.
‘‘Whereas three, four, five years ago I’d be standing there watching and I’d be like ... even a bit embarrassed myself: ‘oh, I wish that student hadn’t done that or said that’.
‘‘But it’s just completely turned around, and it’s a positive place to be now when students are representing our school.’’
Girls rugby captain and head girl Christina Lafaele, 17, said the social media hashtag used by students, #ilovemyschool, came from the heart.
‘‘We always get put down for our academics and sport as well. And for this year we’ve been carving in most of our sports and they’ve seen the positive side of us.’’
Footballer Jacob Stout, 17, said this year the team had plenty of players, including refugees, and won their division.
‘‘There’s commitment and passion from the players. There’s a few language barriers. If someone doesn’t know how to communicate with us we make up a certain word.’’
Principal Ragne Maxwell said Squire and his team of PE teachers and coaches led a change where what was valued was playing together as a team, not winning.
‘‘This new culture has been promoted because they believe that is what makes great sports people and great human beings.
‘‘The irony is, that it has led to our teams winning more than before.’’
Porirua College students, from left, first XI footballer Jacob Stout, senior girls rugby captain and head girl Christina Lafaele, and rugby first XV captain Eli Moata’a with head of sport Dan Squire.