Paris ex­cels in youth de­vel­op­ment

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

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.

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