Success in all its forms was the theme of the night at the Waiheke High School senior prizegiving last Wednesday evening.
Taking home the top prize and an armful of silverware, Felix Knight was named Dux for 2015.
Coming first overall in Year 13, Felix topped his year in geography, physics and biology and won both the Science and Statistics Cups.
He is also a talented footballer, playing for the high school’s First XI boys’ football team this year.
After a stirring karanga and powhiri led by teacher Whaea Huhana Davis and Year 13 student Ted Whatarangi, board of trustees chairman Andrew Walters talked about the many meanings of success.
He said the school was committed to the success of every student in a range of endeavours and that achievement, like that of the All Blacks, came from a team effort involving teachers, parents and peers.
Two long-serving staff members retiring this year, Bob Upchurch and Jill Christansen, were honoured for their valuable contribution to the school over many years.
Principal Jude Young said the school was in good heart after a year of change and despite the set back of the school rebuild being indefinitely postponed.
She went through the varied opportunities offered to students this year in the form of HarbourNet online learning, work placements, the Gifted and Talented programme and inspirational speakers.
Ms Young paid tribute to the “tireless dedication” of staff and sports coaches and their commitment to the academic, cultural and sporting success of their students. She said it was important for the school not to get pulled into negative discussions on social media and debate about the community pool.
“We are committed to positive, respectful relationships and restorative practices.”
Head students James NcNally and Tia Reweti-Saunders both made engaging and emotional speeches, thanking each other and their prefect team for their efforts during the year.
Several of this year’s leavers won prestigious tertiary scholarships involving significant financial contributions to fees and other costs.
Stella Andrews was presented with a University of Auckland Jubilee Award for motivated students with the potential to succeed at university, and Jakob Legge won the Ara Lodge Scholarship for tertiary study in art.
Head student Tia Reweti-Saunders received a Victoria University Achiever Scholarship, awarded to top school leavers, and Aurora Wood won an AUT Vice Chancellor’s Secondary School Scholarship for academic excellence.
Sophie Sherer was named Proxime Accessit for coming second overall in Year 13, winning prizes in statistics, chemistry, geography and biology.
Reuben Burke-Munns was awarded third overall in Year 13, with accolades in photography, physics, calculus, chemistry and music, including the Salvage Award for Musical Excellence.
Piringakau awards were presented to Bella Joseph, for Te Mauri o te Reo – awarded to the senior who has continued to develop their language knowledge and fluency in Maori, and Reiana Papuni, for Nga Mahi a Tanerore – for showing great leadership in the performing arts areas. Caleb Penetito was given the Kaitiakitanga for demonstrating caring, nurturing and supporting roles within the school, and Tia Reweti-Saunders won the Tikanga for continuing to uphold customs and traditions throughout the school year.
Ted Whatarangi took out the Henare Toka Rangatiratanga/Leadership prize for the most outstanding student who has demonstrated great leadership overall.
A number of students were also recognised for their extra-curricular efforts this year.
Amy Han was awarded the Hazel Hudson Cup for outstanding effort in all Year 13 classes, while Racheal Unga was named the best all-round student in Year 13, and was presented with the John Kellard Memorial Rosebowl.
For his commitment to providing technical support at a range of school events, Reagan Edgecombe was presented with the Staff Award for Service to the School.
Talented footballer Gus Marshall was recognised with the Sportsmanship Cup for introducing, organising, coaching and managing the first senior boys’ football team the school has had in years, and promoting respect and sportsmanship amongst his peers.
This year’s winner of the Craig Keddie Memorial Cup for Best All-Round Sportsperson was Aurora Wood, in recognition of her contribution to football, netball and the volleyball academy, as well as for coaching, officiating and promoting sport throughout the school.
Kalia Andrews was named top of Year 12, with prizes in English, biology and painting, while Georgina Halstead topped Year 11, picking up awards in English, mathematics, art, science, and geography.
Julianne Evans and Ella Reilly