Emotional Project K graduation

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INSPIRED: The Project K graduation in Havelock North on Friday night, with from left mentor Chris Willis, Peter Barry Award winner Michael Heperi, inaugural Samuel Gibson Attitude Award winner Lochlan Wakely, and Excellence Award winner Teina Pearcey, who were also among 10 St John's College graduates. PHOTO/DUNCAN BROWN.
INSPIRED: The Project K graduation in Havelock North on Friday night, with from left mentor Chris Willis, Peter Barry Award winner Michael Heperi, inaugural Samuel Gibson Attitude Award winner Lochlan Wakely, and Excellence Award winner Teina Pearcey, who were also among 10 St John's College graduates. PHOTO/DUNCAN BROWN.

The life and times of late inspirational adventurer Sam Gibson was marked in an emotional presentation of a new Project K award during a graduation of 10 Hastings students on Friday night.

The ceremony was held at Duart House, Havelock North, with students from Project K school St John's College.

Pupil Lochlan Wakely became the first recipient of the Samuel Gibson Attitude Award.

Mr Gibson, known by Project K as an important mentor for those leading and passing through the project each year, overcame the rear brittle-bone condition osteogenesis imperfecta to take part in adventures in specially-developed wheelchairs. He become a sought-after motivational speaker.

However, he died after receiving a serious head injury in a fall from his wheelchair during one of those adventures - a half-marathon - in May.

The Peter Barry Award was presented to graduate Michael Heperi and the Excellence Award to Teina Pearcey.

The presentation brought some to tears and was followed by an emotional mob-hugging of project manager Sally Kerr by the graduates.

About 120 people were at the graduation, with the occasion being used also to canvas support for combining the work of the Dingle Foundation and the Kiwi Adventure Trust to increase the youth potential of the operations.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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