Sophie’s Story

Through the Foundation’s Stars programme, Sophie took a leap of faith. Through the various activities, she was constantly seeking discomfort to grow both academically and personally. Becoming a peer mentor to the younger students navigating the challenges of college life gave her a sense of fulfilment and joy, as she was making a positive impact on someone else’s life. Sophie was an award recipient at our National Excellence Awards and shares with us her story on how she has given back to the Marlborough community.

“First, I would like to say a humongous thank you to the Graeme Dingle Foundation for awarding me this award today. It’s been an absolute honour to be a part of the Stars programme for the last two years. As it has taught me so many valuable life lessons and what a meaningful impact, I have on the lives of Year 9 students during their transition to college.

One of the most important lessons I’ve taken away from the Stars programme is the importance of stepping outside of my comfort zone. It’s easy to stick with what I know and what feels safe, but real growth begins when I start pushing myself beyond my boundaries. Stars pushed me to do just that. Whether it was participating in challenging team-building activities or taking on leadership roles, this programme constantly encouraged me to embrace discomfort and uncertainty as a path to personal growth.

Additionally, Stars has provided me with a range of practical skills that are vital towards my growth. I’ve developed strong communication skills, which have been influential in building relationships and working effectively with others. The programme also taught me the importance of organisation and decision-making skills that have proven crucial in both my academic and personal life. These skills are not only enhancing my own life but also preparing me for a successful future.

One of the most rewarding aspects of Stars has been the opportunity to mentor younger students. Being a mentor has allowed me to share my experiences and knowledge with others, helping them navigate the challenges they face transitioning into college. It’s incredibly fulfilling to see the positive impact I can have on someone else’s life.

Through mentorship, I’ve discovered the joy of giving back to the Marlborough community, and it’s a feeling that I cherish deeply. Winning this award is an immense honour and privilege for me. This award is not just an acknowledgment of my efforts but also a recognition of the collective impact that us mentors have on the lives of the Year 9 students. It tells me that my commitment to stepping out of my comfort zone, developing my leadership skills, and giving back to my community has not gone unnoticed. It reaffirms my belief in the power of the Stars programme and the positive change it can bring to individuals and their communities. It serves as a reminder that we can all make a difference, no matter how young or old, by reaching out a helping hand and sharing our knowledge and experiences.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Gemma Miller, my Stars coordinator, for her unwavering support, guidance, and dedication to the program. I would also like to express my gratitude to the Marlborough Graeme Dingle Foundation for their continued support in providing a platform for young people like me to grow as mentors and leaders. Furthermore, I am grateful to Marlborough Girls College for allowing me to be the Stars Manutaki for 2023, to continue to allow me to be a part of this amazing program. The Graeme Dingle Foundation Stars programme has been an incredible journey of personal growth, skill development, and community involvement. Winning this award represents not only my achievements but the collective efforts of all the mentors in this programme. It reinforces my commitment to continuing my journey of growth and leadership, knowing that every small step outside my comfort zone can lead to a brighter future for us all.”