One Tree Hill College students shine at awards

One Tree Hill College students shine at awards One Tree Hill College was represented by two stand-out students at the recent Graeme Dingle Foundation 2020 Excellence Awards. Simaima Nau took home an Excellence Award, and Aniket Niketra was chosen to MC the event. The Year 11 students have both been taking part in the Foundation’s Project K programme since 2019, after being selected to be part of the project. Project K is a 14-month programme, in three parts – wilderness adventure, community challenge and an individual mentoring partnership with a trained mentor. It focuses on building confidence, teaching life skills, promoting good health, relationships and encouraging a positive attitude. For the wilderness adventure section, the students did a camping trip for just over two weeks, which included abseiling, mountain biking, a five-day tramp and a kayak to an overnight stay on an island. The community challenge had the students stay together with other Project K participants on a marae, and develop plans for a community project; and in the final mentoring section, each student was paired with a suitable mentor to spend time with, who would help them set and work towards goals. Those relationships are still ongoing. The mentorship pushed Simaima to achieve her learner’s driver licence; to plan on taking music in Year 12; and to plan to get a part-time job to save money to train as a flight attendant. Overall, she was “shocked but happy” to win the Excellence Award, and says doing Project K has helped her gain confidence and independence. Meeting lots of new people has meant she has a new appreciation for seeing people for who they are on the inside, rather than just on the surface. For Aniket, it has given him a “new mindset, a more open mind, a whole new me.” He developed better communication skills and more confidence, and his mentor inspired him to take up new challenges, and he now plays football. Aniket was also pleased, but surprised to be selected as MC of the awards, as he didn’t know he was in the running. He co-hosted the night at The Vic in Devonport with well-known broadcaster, Carol Hirschfeld, and had an audience of more than 100 people, including the Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy. Simaima Nau, on the right, took home an Excellence Award, and Aniket Niketra MC’d the event.

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