Aspiring young leaders from six Waikato High Schools received a special learning opportunity as the Waikato Management School held its first Leadership Academy hub day in Hamilton last week.
Participants took part in a number of talks, coachings and interactive sessions about leadership and networking and will also get a taste of university as they have the chance to complete a real first-year uni paper.
The programme was designed for ambitious, self-motivated students to support them to become stronger leaders who are better equipped to make a positive difference in their school, future careers and communities.
WMS Pro-Vice-Chancellor Matt Bolger says WMS focuses on empowering people to grow thriving businesses in a thriving world.
"It may be cliche but these students are going to be our leaders in the future, and we want to empower them to grow so they can make an even bigger impact in the world," he says.
Among the 33 participants was Hillcrest High School student Legacy Davies who says the Leadership Academy has given her more confidence and allowed her to get a taste of university, all while pushing her out of her comfort zone.
"It's really good mingling with other schools and experiencing something that I've never experienced before. Personally, I never thought I would get this opportunity."
Legacy says she was close to tears when her teachers approached her to be part of the programme.
"It was a big gift saying: 'Here's what we think about you'. This leadership experience is a huge thing for me, and to represent my school is a real bonus."
St John's College principal Shane Tong put forward eight students for the programme.
"These opportunities are very rare. We ask a lot of our leaders and we call on them for all sorts of things. They deserve something back and this is an opportunity for that to happen," he says.
The Hamilton hub day on June 14 was led by WMS alumni Jamie Fitzgerald who is CEO of consultancy business Inspiring Performance and an adventurer who walked unaided to the South Pole and holds the world record for rowing across the Atlantic Ocean.
The day incorporated inspiring talks, leadership coaching and networking, as well as interactive sessions which brought to life the leadership theory students learned in their tutorials.
Participants also get the chance to complete the WMS first-year paper, "Introduction to Leadership Communication", which means they will have one credit if they go to university.
Christian Pogai, of Hamilton Boys' High School, says the paper is a good opportunity to get a head start on university. He hopes to study for a business degree at WMS before continuing his studies at a business school in Utah.
"I really enjoyed [the event] because I got the university experience as a high school student."
There was also a hub day for Bay of Plenty high school students on June 16. The Leadership Academy programme will conclude with a summit in Hamilton in August.