Olympic medal­ist achieves bach­e­lors

The Southland Times - - Front Page - Ben Bootsma

Jug­gling be­tween be­ing a high­per­for­mance ath­lete while study­ing has meant for a slightly longer aca­demic jour­ney for elite South­land cy­clist Ed­die Dawkins.

The Olympic and Com­mon­wealth Games medal­list grad­u­ated with a Bach­e­lor of Sport and Ex­er­cise from the South­ern In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy yesterday.

He said achiev­ing the bal­ance be­tween study and be­ing an elite ath­lete had not been easy.

Start­ing the de­gree, Dawkins was a full-time stu­dent at­tend­ing ev­ery lec­ture and balanc­ing time be­tween train­ing and study well.

‘‘I was at­tend­ing my lectures in per­son, it wasn’t hard be­cause my gym coach Will Payne was also my tu­tor. There was no way he would let me miss any lectures.’’

Mak­ing the move to Cam­bridge for train­ing, Dawkins ad­mit­ted he let his study take the back burner but dur­ing this year, he be­gan to get through the last of his stud­ies.

‘‘It was hard to get the mo­ti­va­tion up to study. Af­ter train­ing all day, the last thing I wanted to do was study.

‘‘I man­aged to get the last year of study done in six months. I’m just on the last lap be­fore the fin­ish line.’’

SIT’s at­ti­tude to­ward flex­i­ble study pro­grams had been a driv­ing force be­hind reach­ing his goals, Dawkins said.

‘‘They just made it as easy as they could for me with sched­ul­ing.’’

Adding pres­sure to his goals was mak­ing his par­ents proud, af­ter all these years of study, he said.

‘‘They’ve been re­ally sup­port­ive. My mum, ev­ery time we’d talk, she’d ask me when I was grad­u­at­ing.

‘‘I’m re­ally glad I got to give her that call and tell her I was go­ing to be this year.’’

Dawkins joined 532 grad­u­ates at the Civic Theatre to re­ceive his bach­e­lors. About 1420 stu­dents in to­tal will grad­u­ate de­grees or diploma’s from the in­sti­tute this year.

A grow­ing num­ber of of­fered cour­ses and of­fer­ing higher lev­els of study had made for a rise in grad­u­at­ing num­bers.

Dawkins’ next goal now is to com­plete a strength and con­di­tion­ing course at Aus­tralian Strength and Con­di­tion As­so­ci­a­tion.

In­ver­cargill mayor Tim Shad­bolt was awarded an hon­orary fel­low­ship at the cer­e­mony.

Hon­orary fel­low­ships are given to peo­ple who sub­stan­tially con­trib­ute to strength­en­ing the mis­sion of the in­sti­tute.

Also grad­u­at­ing was Brumbies first-five eight Wharenui Haw­era, with a Bach­e­lor in sport and ex­er­cise.

Also yesterday, 27 Bach­e­lor of Teach­ing grad­u­ates from the South­land cam­pus of the Univer­sity of Otago’s Col­lege of Ed­u­ca­tion gained de­grees.

South­land Cam­pus Pro­gramme Co-or­di­na­tor Jill Paris said many stu­dents had been of­fered teach­ing po­si­tions in South­land af­ter form­ing re­la­tion­ships with ed­u­ca­tion providers while on prac­ti­cal place­ments this year.

Af­ter train­ing all day, the last thing I wanted to do was study.’’ Ed­die Dawkins

JOHN HAWKINS/ STUFF

Elite South­land cy­clist Ed­die Dawkins mo­ments be­fore he re­ceived his Bach­e­lor of Sport and Ex­er­cise from the South­ern In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy yesterday.

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