Paris excels in youth development
Paris John used to be the shy girl in school but thanks to Foundation for Youth Development she has come away with confidence and an excellence award to match.
The Tokoroa High School head girl, who was a mentor in the programme, only learned of her nomination two days beforehand.
John made the trip to the Government House in Auckland where an unexpectedly large ceremony was held.
The 17-year was one of 24 winners and she brought her dad as a plus one.
‘‘It was a good experience, I think he felt more overwhelmed than I did.’’
She described it as an ‘‘ area of success’’.
John said around 200 people attended the ceremony with some ‘‘big names’’.
Those included the GovernorGeneral Sir Jerry Mateparae, Foundation for Youth Development cofounders Graeme Dingle and Jo-anne Wilkinson and Dame Catherine Tizard.
‘‘I only thought it was the award winners and the governor-general. It’s not until I got there and then I thought, oh this is serious.’’
John had come a long way since year 9.
Looking back at the shy student she was, John was amazed at her achievements throughout her high school life.
‘‘I don’t think I would have been head girl if I didn’t have this experience.’’
The young achiever will even make the brave move to Brigham Young University in Utah , in the United States to study health science next year.
It was an ambition she never would have considered when she started high school.
‘‘ My advice to future mentors is never forget who you are and growing doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change as a person.’’
Excellence: Paris John, front, was awarded a Foundation for Youth Development Excellence Award for her work with year nines and they were behind her all the way. Pictured: Year 9 students Roman Reti-Mataiti, back left, Abraham Tuakana-Natua, Tikal McClure and Jezayah Curtis.