Small school thinks big

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By PET­RICE TAR­RANT

Most fathers want the best for their chil­dren but Dean Tereu and Brian Reid are go­ing the ex­tra mile to make it hap­pen.

The pair are two of six trustees on the Toko­roa High School Trust, which has been re­vived af­ter 10 years of hi­ber­na­tion.

The trust is aim­ing to raise $1 mil­lion and in­vest the an­nual $20,000 to $40,000 in­ter­est on ed­u­ca­tional needs not funded by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion.

Both ded­i­cated teach­ers have reached into their own pock­ets be­cause they want to see their 7 and 8-year-old daugh­ters have the ‘‘best of the best’’ when they hit their teenage years.

‘‘From a fa­ther’s point of view what I’m hop­ing to achieve is to help cre­ate a school en­vi­ron­ment so that she [ Olivierre] doesn’t have to leave Toko­roa to have a qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion,’’ Tereu said.

The for­mer Toko­roa High School stu­dent sees it as a way of pro­tect­ing both the fu­ture and the past.

The school has paid him more than $ 1⁄ mil­lion in salary over the

2 past 18 years, he said.

‘‘So I can af­ford to give back $1000 . . . We [Brian and I] are now in a po­si­tion where we have a moral obli­ga­tion to pay it back to the school but we also have young daugh­ters who we want to pay it for­ward to.’’

Far from a new con­cept, the trust was es­tab­lished in the 70s as a way of pur­chas­ing elec­tronic equip­ment for the school.

But that all changed af­ter the in­tro­duc­tion of To­mor­row’s Schools, an ed­u­ca­tion re­form in 1988.

From then on funds were used to bet­ter the ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents but it didn’t last, Tereu said.

‘‘We used to do­nate to it but in 2003 it went dor­mant. It wasn’t un­til about two years ago that we thought let’s give it a go and see if we can get it go­ing again.’’

All six trustees – Tereau, Reid, Graeme De­whurst, Wil­liam Ford, Teoko­tai Tarai and chair­man Roger Som­merville started this jour­ney in 2012 with about $88,000 in the bank.

In just two years the fund earned more than $ 65,000 in in­ter­est.

One fundrais­ing idea they have em­braced is the cre­ation of a ‘‘mil­lion­aires club’’ where 1000 in­di­vid­u­als do­nate $1000 each. They are hop­ing to reach out to the 17,000 stu­dents who have at­tended Toko­roa High since it opened in 1957.

‘‘Most have gen­er­ally pos­i­tive mem­o­ries,’’ Tereu said.

The trustees launched the con­cept to staff at Toko­roa High School, and in just one week man­aged to se­cure another $10,000 in pledges.

But do­na­tions of any size are wel­come.

‘‘The com­mu­nity is a gen­er­ous com­mu­nity and is al­ways giv­ing out money to help peo­ple and groups . . . But at the mo­ment an enor­mous amount of money comes out and is spent on one-offs.’’

In­vest­ing a core fund and spend­ing the in­ter­est is much more sus­tain­able, he said.

When asked why some­thing of this scale had not been tried at Tok High be­fore, Tereu put it down to be­lief.

For a long time the com­mu­nity had ac­cepted that Toko­roa was a low- so­cio eco­nomic com­mu­nity along with the as­so­ci­ated neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tions, he said.

‘‘All it has taken is aca­dem­i­cally we have raised the ex­pec­ta­tions. It’s just that ques­tion, why not?’’

Af­ter all, it’s not like it hasn’t been done be­fore.

Tereu said Wakatipu High School did some­thing sim­i­lar and man­aged to raise $ 1⁄ mil­lion in

2 about eight months.

Those first to ben­e­fit from the fund will be Toko­roa High School stu­dents, fol­lowed by their fam­i­lies and then the wider com­mu­nity, Reid said.

Ul­ti­mately, money should not be a bar­rier, he said.


Look­ing to the fu­ture: Dean Tereu, left and Brian Reid want their daugh­ters Olivierre Kapene-Tereu and Ne­vaeh Reid to have a qual­ity high school ed­u­ca­tion in Toko­roa.

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