One of Waikato's most inspiring young Kiwis was recognised for her outstanding work as a student creating a career pathway, at the Graeme Dingle Foundation 2020 Excellence Awards, in Auckland on Wednesday.
Ngaruawahia High School student Tiare Petero won the Career Navigator - Outstanding Achievement of a Student Award. Career Navigator is the last step before students leave school, enter the world and embark on their career journey.
This programme helps students navigate their way through the endless career opportunities presented to them. They get real world experience in fields they are interested in and an idea of what their future career path may look like.
Tiare said she wasn't expecting to win the award at all, but it gave her a sense of achievement.
Asked what was the main thing which she felt had won her the prize, she said: "The change of my behaviour and attitude toward school from four years ago to now, has shaped me into the young lady I am today.
"I had a lot of support from my peers during the year, but my go-to person is always Mrs Andrea Kingi, the assistant principal at Ngaruawahia High School, because we could relate on so many levels and I trust her with everything."
Tiare said the Dingle Foundation programme helped her and her peers a lot: "Personally, I gained knowledge about the career I am wanting to pursue."
Sir Graeme Dingle, says this year's awards, coming at a time when Covid-19 has changed lives throughout the world, perfectly showcase what the foundation lives and breathes – teaching young people to be resilient.
"The ethos of our foundation is focused on helping young New Zealanders overcome obstacles. We want them to have a life full of possibilities so they can achieve their dreams and make the most of their unique talents. We want to help them make a contribution to society.
"This year in particular, with the lockdown restrictions imposed by Covid-19, these young people and their mentors and volunteers had to work extra hard to complete their programmes, often online."
Sir Graeme says the awards are an opportunity to celebrate this country's future – our children and our young people.
"They provide a valuable platform for them to recognise their own strengths and muster, from within, the conviction to overcome challenges, both big and small. It is also a reminder of the incredible work that our mentors and volunteers deliver, day in and day out, for children and young people throughout the country.
"Each year, these kids show courage, determination and resilience. It gives me a tremendous sense of joy to be able to recognise and acknowledge each and every one of our winners. We are really proud of all of them," says Sir Graeme.
The annual excellence awards began life as the Project K Outstanding Student Award and were first hosted by then Governor-General Dame Sylvia Cartwright in 2000.