Men­tor wins NZ hon­our

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

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.

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