The wider community turning out "en masse" to the senior prizegiving put an appropriate finishing touch to what principal Jack Saxon described as "another sensational year" for Kaitaia College.
For the first time since 1994 the title of Dux was shared, by Samuel Tritscher and Larissa Marr, while the top awards for culture (Maori performing arts) were presented to Kahutotara Rawhiti (the Tane Rore Trophy) and Jurney Blair (the Hineruhi Trophy).
The Vietnam Veterans' Trophy for top overall Services Academy student was awarded to Shannon Edwards (who had earlier been named the best in the northern region).
The trophy for the single most outstanding sporting achievement was awarded to Arapo Kellner, the first Kaitaia College student to win the Sport Northland Sportsman of the Year title (in October), who won gold medals at national and international levels this year, and represented New Zealand at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.
Year 11 student Sydnee Archer won the prestigious Sportswoman of the Year trophy, recognising excellence in several sports, while one of the school's standout league and touch players, Esmonde Parangi-Matene, was Sportsman of the Year.
Meanwhile the inaugural E Tu Whanau Kahukura awards acknowledged students in each house who, through their service and achievement, best reflected the school values of Manaaki, Achievement, Hau Kainga and Integrity.
They were presented to Te Ao Marama Murray (Trigg), Trent Buckingham (Miller), Leela Brown (McMahon), Beverly Thompson (Ngarimu), and Akesa Waitai-Ifopo (Buck), who were thereby qualified as nominees for the Te Amo-haere Rudolph Memorial Trophy, won by Te Ao Marama Murray.
The highlight of the night for many of the students, Mr Saxon said, was the announcement of the 2018 house champions and the 2019 head and deputy head students.
"After one of the tightest races in a decade, Trigg whanau came out as winners for the fourth consecutive year," he said.
Manaakitia Hoepo and Shannon Edwards were named as next year's head boy and girl, with Harley Adams and Kaysha Stratton-Adams their deputies, after this year's head boy and girl, Sam Yates and Te Ao Marama Murray, addressed the assembly.
Mr Saxon specifically acknowledged the student leaders of 2018, asking those who had been part of the senior council, who had served on the school's five committees and those who had acted as mediators and mentors, to stand. Very few students remained sitting.
"It was obvious to all present that the students at this college have a major role in school decision-making and developing school culture," Mr Saxon said.