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NZ’s largest school announces prize winners

NZ’s largest school announces prize winners

The achievements of students at New Zealand’s largest school were celebrated at a ceremony in Wellington recently, where 23 students from around the country gathered to receive their prizes.
In all, 83 prizes were awarded this year.

Te Kura (formerly The Correspondence School) has almost 27,000 students a year (or around 14,000 at any one time), ranging in age from 3 to over 90 years of age. Chief Executive Mike Hollings says the school prize giving is an opportunity to recognise the success of students who have achieved academically as well as those who have responded to challenges and made good progress in their studies.

‘Learning at a distance can be challenging for some students, but it allows us to offer highly personalised programmes based on students’ passions, goals and educational needs. We can see the benefit of that approach in the achievements of our prize winners.’

Around 3500 full-time students enrolled with Te Kura in 2013, along with almost 6000 young adult students (students aged 16 to 19 who returned to schooling on a full-time or part-time basis) and 3500 adult students. The school’s roll also included more than 12,000 students who were attending a regular school but studied one or more subjects with Te Kura.

The prize giving ceremony in Wellington doubled as the premiere of the school’s first musical production, a music video based on a powerful song called Keep Moving, composed totally online by two talented senior music students Jae Herekiuha (Auckland) and Bryony Greene (Waikato). Their song has since become the basis of a project involving Te Kura students from throughout New Zealand and across the world. The song and video represent the contributions of 44 Te Kura students, past and present, utilising a wide range of technologies that allowed them to overcome the physical distances between them.

Arts Curriculum Leader Jan Bolton, who oversaw the project, was keen to show how some of the challenges of learning by distance can be overcome through the use of easily-accessed technology, and to give Te Kura students the chance to be part of something which students in other schools take for granted.

‘The end result is something that could never have been achieved by just one or two people alone, and which reflects the unique character of Te Kura and its students. At the same time, every student who has been involved has learnt something from that experience and, in the case of some of the core team members, earned NCEA credits.’

The 2013 Dux Award went to Alexandra Manson, who enrolled with Te Kura in 2011 when her family left Christchurch and moved to France. In addition to her Dux Award, Alexandra received prizes for classical studies and art history. She intends to study languages at Lille University in France.

Gillian McNaughton (Wellington) received the Chief Executive’s Prize for Meritorious Work, runner-up to the Dux Award. Earlier this year, Gillian won a bronze medal as part of the New Zealand team which competed at the International Biology Olympiad in Switzerland. Gillian sat scholarship exams in biology, chemistry and music as well as NCEA exams in eight subjects. She excels in music and has played the viola in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Youth Orchestra, as well as sung in the New Zealand Secondary Schools choir.


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