Fifty-four outstanding primary schoolchildren were
Porirua City Council sent out a Press Release at 10.30 am on the 27th and we wait with bated breath to see whether it will grace the pages of a newspaper.
The focus of the event was the reading of the citations for every young
The students came in all shapes and sizes; some wore neat school uniform and some were casually dressed. Some were overwhelmed and some were confident, but all were charming and thrilled to be singled out.
Each of the twenty-seven participating schools had selected two students for the Leadership Awards and supplied citations for them, explaining the reasons for their choice. The students were not necessarily senior, or the most academic, or the most sporting. The common thread was sharing, caring and a willingness to cooperate, help other students, and help the school itself run more smoothly. These qualities define leadership in the modern world.
There was a large and enthusiastic audience of politicians, business leaders, parents, whanau, teachers, Rotarians, and representatives of the City Council. In the case of Rangikura School, and Te Kura Maori o Porirua, their students were greeted by spine-tingling hakas.
At the outset, President Donna Reed welcomed everyone and proceeded to explain what Rotary was all about. She gave special mention to the various youth programmes which the club supports, and did a fine job enhancing Rotary’s reputation to a receptive audience.
Following Donna, we had welcomes from Porirua Councillor Kylie Wihapi (a past-President of Porirua Rotary) Deputy Mayor Izzy Ford, and District 9940 Governor Marion Johnstone.
The event was supported by senior students from five local colleges, who provided assistance in the venue: Mana, Bishop Viard, Samuel Marsden, Te Kura, and Porirua College. Their students, all smart and helpful, were also awarded badges by our District Governor.
Liri Salz, head girl at Samuel Marsden, then delivered an extraordinarily mature and highly relevant address about leadership from her own perspective. She, too, received a Rotary badge.
Wendy Creurer offered her thanks to District Governor Marion and was followed by our principal guest and keynote speaker, Judge Andrew Becroft, the Commissioner for Children.
He began by noting that in New Zealand we have 1.1 million children under the age of 18. Of these, 30% are not doing well.
With the aid of three T-shirts, Judge Becroft left the young in the audience with these messages:
- be persistent
- try new things
- be sincere- be the same on the inside and the outside
- work hard
- have dreams!
He pitched his talk carefully at his young listeners and it went down well.
The event concluded with a rousing rendition of the National Anthem by the group from Porirua College, Le Art, whose performance has gone viral on social media. They were also presented with badges by the Rotary District Governor.
This is a complex event requiring thorough planning and deep commitment from our club, Porirua Club, and the City Council. Thanks to Wendy Betteridge, Bill McAulay, Philip Reidy, Donna Reed and Wendy Creurer it went off smoothly, and the students, their parents, and whanau went home proud and happy.
And even though several of our politicians and business leaders had to leave their seats at the front before the very end, the atmosphere in the Church Hall was one of joyful celebration.