By Dave Murdoch/note>
At the age of 18, Jack Bradley, of Ormondville, has the opportunity to fulfil his dreams with his acceptance into Smedley Cadet Training next year.
He has come a long way from the days when he was a "not too good student" - his words - at Norsewood School.
It is said it takes a village to raise a child and in this case it's a school and a village that have turned Bradley around.
After leaving Norsewood School Bradley's parents Kylie and Cameron enrolled him at Te Aute College thinking the discipline and structure of a boarding school might turn him around.
At his entrance interview, when asked what he wanted to do in his life, his answer was farming and in the shorter term to go to Smedley Cadet Training.
He has got his wish.
As a Year 9 student Bradley settled in well, enjoying the camaraderie and challenges of house sports and culture, and winning an award every year.
He says his teachers really took care of him and in Year 10 he enrolled in a Taratahi Primary Industries Trade Academy course in agriculture and horticulture. He was named the Most Conscientious Student that year.
Continuing in this programme as a level one student he topped his class at level two and was first in Hawke's Bay for the course.
Year 12 continued in the same way, but Bradley participated in an automotive programme run by EIT to become familiar with farm machinery.
At the end of the year with more awards, a lot of practical experience working during the holidays on a farm and locals taking him crutching, he applied for Smedley.
He was advised to gain even more farming experience before reapplying the next year.
So he returned to school this year and was made a prefect, a member of the First XV and a house captain.
He enrolled in a Primary ITO Agriculture and the Horticultural level three more advanced programme and worked one day a week on the Gateway Programme getting practical experience at Brownrig Station, gaining experience in horticulture, agriculture, sheep and beef farming.
At the end-of-year Te Aute prizegiving Bradley, along with the rest of the First XV, was capped by members of the famous 1979 Te Aute side which had a pack outweighing the then All Blacks.
He won the Te Aute Cup for senior cross-country, and prizes for first in science and ag/hort.
At the end of proceedings he was awarded the Prime Minister's Award for Vocational Excellence, with one being awarded to each school throughout New Zealand. It comes with a $2000 grant.
Not surprisingly he has been accepted for Smedley in 2020 and is planning to buy a working dog with his money.
His proud parents admit that he has come a long way since his days at Norsewood School and mum Kylie says he would not be where he is without the help of the Ormondville community and the values instilled in him at Te Aute College.