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