Academy gets funds for a van

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Matt Manu will no longer have to reach into his own pocket to en­sure the Toko­roa High School Ser­vices Academy thrives.

The academy, which teaches its stu­dents a va­ri­ety of life skills, was granted $100,000 from the South Waikato District’s $5 mil­lion fund.

The ser­vices academy di­rec­tor said the money will go to­wards buy­ing two new vans.

‘‘We’re ex­cited, not just for the academy but for the school.’’

Manu said com­mu­nity en­gage­ment is an im­por­tant as­pect for the stu­dents. It’s more teach­ing them how to be com­mu­nity fo­cused be­cause they are the fu­ture,’’ Manu said.

‘‘If we don’t in­vest in our com­mu­nity then where does it stand?’’

Whether it is help­ing the el­derly or other schools, the 60- stu­dent academy is al­ways keen to be there.

But the $500 cost of two hired vans had be­come a fi­nan­cial bur­den.

There has also been many oc­ca­sions when Manu vol­un­teered the use of his own van.

Manu said he clocked up al­most 170,000 kilo­me­tres trav­el­ling over three years.

De­spite ef­forts to ob­tain ve­hi­cles to get to ac­tiv­i­ties, it did not al­ways hap­pen.

‘‘There have been a lot of times when we wanted to say yes but we couldn’t,’’ he said.

The coun­cil grant comes as a big re­lief.

The vans are needed to take stu­dents to ac­tiv­i­ties out of town. The sav­ings will also mean the academy roll can grow.

Manu said there may be room for an­other 40 stu­dents but it will not hap­pen im­me­di­ately.

‘‘We’re not go­ing to ex­pand it too fast,’’ he said.

Photo: CAITLIN WAL­LACE

March­ing on: Ash Te Rore, front, Boss Tu­ra­mai, Cleve­land Poko and Mon­tell Maea will not have to re­sort to march­ing when the brand new vans ar­rive.

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