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Pansy Speak: A bright future

Pansy Speak
A bright future

It’s always wonderful to celebrate the success of our children. Last week I was lucky enough to present a $2,500 grant to Baverstock Oaks School to help them fund a worm farm.

The school won this grant from the Environmental Glass Fund set up by the OI Corporation, which is the world’s largest glass producer. The school’s worm farm proposal beat 14 other proposals. Baverstock Oaks is truly an aspirational green school. Under the leadership of Principal Mary Wilson it employs a full-time environment educator Shane Ross. He inspires students to analyse the contents of their rubbish bins to find ways to minimise waste.

I was delighted to be asked to hand over the grant. This took place at their weekly assembly and happened to be run by the six-year-old students from Room 3.

These young bright sparks told us about their no-waste lunch movement that day, where every lunch wrapper had to be recyclable. They then led 800 other students in a range of activities, including songs like Yellow Submarine, and managed to get all the parents, the OI representative, and myself clapping and singing along. It gave me a moment to lament about my time at primary school, where our assemblies were lectures delivered by teachers and principals. I was blown away by the confident youngsters who filled me with optimism.

Two weeks ago I was invited to speak to 1,000 students in years 10, 11 and 12 at Botany Downs Secondary School about daring to be different. It’s hard not to feel like a rock star when standing in front of such a large crowd. Their engaging and attentive faces were a credit to the school and their parents – after all, a speech by a politician can’t be an attractive prospect to teenagers!

I happened to meet some of the students by chance a few days later and asked them if their attentive faces were them just being polite or if they had fallen asleep. They told me it was OK. I guess that’s a thumbs-up!

This wasn’t the first time I had worked with students from Botany Downs Secondary School. Earlier this year I was a judge for their Young Enterprise Scheme, which involved small groups of students coming up with a product and marketing it. Their intelligence, enthusiasm, and creativity filled me with optimism. New Zealand has nothing to worry about when it comes to our future entrepreneurs and our future in research and development!

Their enthusiasm needs to be encouraged so they can realise their potential. As adults, we should be role models for them, striving for achievement and not for mediocre expectations.

Low expectations have no place in National’s ambition for New Zealand. Given the poor example the Hon. Winston Peters and the Rt. Hon Helen Clark have set in recent days it’s important our youngsters can see that some politicians stand up for what’s right.

National is committed to leading by example and providing New Zealand with the government it deserves.

Pansy Wong

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