Mentor wins NZ honour
Tokoroa High School student Melissa Appel has been honoured at the annual Foundation for Youth Development ( FYD) Excellence Awards in Auckland.
The national awards celebrate the life- changing accomplishments of a selection of young people, mentors and leaders chosen from the thousands of participants across New Zealand involved in the foundation’s four programmes: Kiwi Can, Stars, Project K and Mentoring Youth New Direction.
Melissa received her award for outstanding contribution from a stars peer mentor and was one of only three students from in New Zealand to be recognised in this way.
Nominated by FYD Waikato Stars co-ordinator Tony Jones, Melissa is described as a conscientious young woman who has delivered above and beyond her duties as a Stars Peer Mentor, supporting and encouraging both year 9 students and other peer mentors. ‘‘Melissa is the person who other mentors turn to for support and ideas when sessions are finishing too quickly or if the students are not fully engaged,’’ Mr Jones said.
‘‘She has the ability to encourage her fellow mentors and support them to get their students back on track. Melissa has rolemodelled the mentor position better than I ever imagined was possible for someone so young.’’
Melissa credits her own Stars peer mentors to the reason she decided to apply to become a mentor.
‘‘My mentors when I was in year 9 were fantastic, they were very supportive and were like a family to me in those early years at school. I wanted to make sure that other students had as good an experience as me and that’s why I became a mentor.’’
It’s that ‘‘ family feel’’ that Melissa talks fondly about as describes her involvement in Stars at Tokoroa High School.
‘‘One of the best things about being involved in Stars, other than the amazing leadership skills I’ve been lucky to develop, is the family feel across the school,’’ she said.
‘‘ The mentors really get to know the year 9s through the Stars programme and a strong relationship is developed that seems to continue through the rest of each student’s time at the school. We are all there to support and encourage each other, sometimes it’s the year 9s supporting us.’’
Melissa is going on to Waikato University next year to study to become a primary school teacher and believes that her experience as a Peer Mentor for Stars has further developed her passion for helping people.
‘‘ I think the part I have enjoyed most is around developing these relationships with the year 9 students, getting to know them, what they like and using these things to help bond, I’m sure that this will help me in being a teacher.’’
WINNING MOVES: Members of the Tokoroa Rock and Roll Club travelled to Wanganui for the 2011 Senior Nationals. Nicholas Totton and Hayden Middlebrook made it into the semi finals in the Same Sex section. Bridie Mcneil and Hayden Middlebrook (pictured) competed in the Platinum section and came second and also won Best Dressed. Nicholas and Ashleigh Totton competed in the Novice section and came first and third in Best Dressed. Geoff Goossens and Rana Mason competed in the Masters section making it into the semi finals.