Military school changes lives

20:36, Dec 12 2012
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TOP MARKS: Callum Hill, 18, receives one of two outstanding student awards.
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LIFE CHANGER: Albany’s Anna Kolston, 17, with her classmates at the 2012 ATC Military Prep School graduation in Rosedale
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END IS NEAR: ATC recruits enter the building for their graduation ceremony.
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END IS NEAR: ATC recruits enter the building for their graduation ceremony.
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HONOUR: General manager Nick Hyde speaks to friends and family about the course.
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Chelsea Cassidy accepts the second outstanding student award.
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ATTENTION! The recruits stand to attention in front of family and friends.
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BRIGHT FUTURE: Recruit representative Montana Iosefa speaks at the graduation ceremony.
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INTEGRITY: ATC graduates demonstrate military drills they have learned during their time.
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The recruits celebrate after officially graduating from ATC.

Anna Kolston has completely changed her life.

The 17-year-old from Albany left high school in March and a week later began training at North Harbour's Advanced Training Centre Military Prep School.

For nine months Anna learned physical military drills and completed her academic work which she says will help not just her career but her entire life.

Anna is awaiting correspondence from the New Zealand Defence Force where she hopes to train as a steward or as a personal training instructor in the navy.

"It teaches you self-belief. You can change your life in a year."

The graduation ceremony held at ATC in Rosedale saw around 50 friends, family and colleagues gather to celebrate the end of a long journey for the 39 recruits, including Anna. Recruits marched in and demonstrated some of the skills they have learned.

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Each recruit received awards for their achievements at either NCEA levels one, two or three as well as the Military Drill Competition and the Challenge Cup, both won by Alpha/Bravo section, and the Terminator Cup won by Charlie/Delta section.

Outstanding recruit awards were given to Chelsea Cassidy and Callum Hill.

Two students received positions in the military with Darren Pace, 17, selected as a rifleman and Mr Hill, 18, in forces protection for the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

The ceremony ended with a haka and a speech from Montana Iosefa who was chosen by the graduates to speak on their behalf.

ATC fosters future army, air force, navy and defence recruits as well as prepares many youth for the workforce, general manager Nick Hyde says.

Sixteen have passed the NZ Defence Force entry test with more students still to sit it, Mr Hyde says.

The students volunteer in the community during their time at ATC including helping Northcross Church and donating blood.

"It is your hour. You have your honour, you have your integrity," Mr Hyde told the recruits.

ATC prep school is a Government-funded training centre for 16 and 17-year-old school leavers.

Visit advancetraining.co.nz for more information.

North Shore Times