Mo­ti­va­tion sees goal gained

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By ABBY BROWN

The run­ning joke be­tween Mata­mata Col­lege head girl Kelly Petersen and her teach­ers has been the con­stant high­lighter in her hand and dic­ta­phone on her desk to record all her lessons.

But this ded­i­ca­tion has paid off, as be­sides her haul of tro­phies at the se­nior prize­giv­ing last week, she nabbed the sought-after Stan­ley Cup for school dux and the Dux Medal for 2014.

Petersen said it was em­bar­rass­ing to have the high­lighter men­tioned and get a stand­ing ova­tion when she re­ceived the dux ‘‘but it was re­ally nice to know the hard work has paid off’’.

She has had many chal­lenges keep­ing mo­ti­vated. But her aim, through­out high school, to gain the dux in year 13 helped.

She found it chal­leng­ing to keep up her con­cen­tra­tion study­ing six sub­jects, es­pe­cially as most year 13s take only five.

‘‘I had a re­ward sys­tem. For ev­ery 10 min­utes of study I let my­self watch a cou­ple of min­utes of TV or eat,’’ she said.

Hav­ing a group of year 13 stu­dents de­ter­mined to make the most of the last year also helped.

‘‘In ju­nior school there was a cou­ple of us lit­tle nerds who just sat in the cor­ner and then as we have gone through peo­ple have got ma­ture and seen that ac­tu­ally that’s what you need to do to do well in life, to get a job, not nec­es­sar­ily good grades, but the mo­ti­va­tion is re­ally im­por­tant to em­ploy­ers so they started see­ing that as a good point.’’

Bal­anc­ing her head girl de­mands, study and time with her fam­ily was also chal­leng­ing.

She would get up at 6am and study for an hour and a half, go to school, come home and ride her horse then study for another four or five hours.

She said her par­ents in­cred­i­ble in their support.

Hav­ing some­thing to drive her to suc­cess, den­tistry, also helped.

She will study health sci­ence next year at Otago Univer­sity for five years.

‘‘I will be 30 by the time I leave school,’’ she laughed.

The high­light of be­ing head girl was get­ting to know the stu­dents and staff, she said.

For any­one think­ing of fol­low­ing in her foot­steps she had two pieces of ad­vice. Fo­cus less on ti­tles such as head stu­dent and more about em­body­ing friend­li­ness and good com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills.

She also urged stu­dents to ‘‘find the thing to push you’’ to suc­cess.

Un­til she leaves Mata­mata in mid-Fe­bru­ary, Petersen won’t be tak­ing her teach­ers’ ad­vice of tak­ing a break, in­stead she will be hold­ing down three part-time jobs.

‘‘It’s so funny be­cause ev­ery­one goes ‘have a break’ but I find I can’t re­lax. I can’t just watch a movie, I need to do some­thing.’’

Work­ing for two horse rid­ing sta­bles and pro­mo­tional work in a mall over the sum­mer is a good change from study­ing, she said.

The last time a fe­male stu­dent at Mata­mata Col­lege was head girl and dux was Loren Creswell, in 2006.

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Photo: TERESA HAT­TAN

DUX DE­LIGHT: Mata­mata Col­lege head girl Kelly Petersen was awarded dux at the se­nior prize­giv­ing.

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