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New Zealand’s regions shine as STEM grants awarded

Students at three New Zealand schools will be able to use the latest edu-tech gear after they were announced the recipients of the School-gen Energising Young Minds tech grants.

Tangimoana School, Aka Aka School, and Waikino School made it to the final five of the Genesis’ Energising Young Minds competition, thanks to the support of local people who voted in huge numbers for the school. They then had to impress a panel of judges to make it to the top three and win a share of the $50,000 prize pool.

Tangimoana School Principal, Timu Niwa, says he is overwhelmed and this is huge for a little community like Tangimoana.

“Receiving this grant will be such a huge morale boost, not just for the school but also for the village which has had various floods over the last 10 years,” said Niwa.

Genesis CEO, Marc England, says New Zealand’s progress will be influenced by enabling children to learn STEM skills from an early age and getting them excited about these topics.

“School-gen supports the STEM-based learning that will be central to how industries adapt and flourish. These three schools are fostering this critical and creative thinking early and these grants are aimed at assisting that,” said England.

Aka Aka School Principal, Michaelene Nu’u, says this funding will have a huge impact on what can be offered at the school.

“A grant like this will have such a positive impact on our children and how they feel about themselves and their pride in the school,” said Nu’u.

Joanna Wheway, Waikino School Principal, says receiving this grant is a real tribute to the investment the community has made in their small school.

“From a teaching perspective, it is an opportunity to get some funding that is purely tagged to learning,” said Wheway.

School-gen has made a range of learning resources available to schools up and down the country for the past eleven years and has brought solar energy, energy efficiency and related topics to life for students.

The competition ran from 12 February to 2 April. 685 primary, intermediate and secondary schools throughout New Zealand were nominated with 250,997 votes from their local community to win the edu-tech prize packs.

Seven judges were involved in the process of narrowing the five finalists down to three winners. The panel of judges were Vanessa Sorenson, Enterprise Director of Microsoft New Zealand, James Muir, Business Innovation Advisor for Callaghan Innovation, Fee Webby GM The Mind Lab by Unitech, Kerry Topp, Associate Director Transformation and Innovation at Datacom, Michelle Leadsom, Executive General Manager – Student Journey at Manukau Institute of Technology and Lou Reddy, Marketing and Enterprise Manager Te Whangai Trust (ex-Teacher).

• 1st prize goes to Tangimoana School, an “Edu-tech” grant to the value of $25,000

• 2nd prize goes to Aka Aka School, an “Edu-tech” grant to the value of $15,000

• 3rd prize goes to Waikino School, an “Edu-tech” grant to the value of $10,000


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