Ten Horowhenua College students successfully completed their induction into the school's Services Academy. One of them, Samuel Paxton, who is also the college's prefect, was the top performer at cross country and came second in the required fitness level test during the induction course. He is set to sign up for the army.
Doing the induction course has meant spending a fortnight at Waiouru Army camp and being put through various army drills.
Horowhenua College is the only one in Horowhenua with a Services Academy, with students dressed in army boots, black trousers, black cap and red shirts while often sporting an army-green tin box.
There are 13 such academies in the central region and all attended the induction course, said the college's director of Services Academy, Maurice True.
He's in his fifth year at the helm and said the academy has room for as many as 20 students, who follow the normal school education programme. The academy gives them a taste of life in the armed services, and students to whom this does not appeal can leave the academy at any time.
He is proud of his students this year. Two of his students were female and they had to do exactly what the men had to do throughout the course. "They all did very well," he said.
The Services Academy is for Year 12 and 13 students interested in applying for the armed forces and of the college's current students at least five are seriously considering the army, navy or air force as a career choice.
The induction course focuses on drills, leadership, teamwork, self-discipline, to name a few. There is an assault course and they had to do lots of running to get and stay fit.
On the last day of the course there was a graduation parade. The course is run by the youth development unit at Whenuapai.
The students get school credits for completing this course, where instructors have talked to them about requirements for entering the services.
The students' overall assessment of the course is good. "It was enjoyable, the food was better than expected," the students said.
They were put up in army barracks for the duration of the course, four to a room, and ate in the army mess and had absolutely no time for technology.
In fact TV, mobile phones and music devices were banned from the course, but no one missed them. "We were always busy," they said.