Top girls honoured

PETRICE TARRANT
Last updated 05:00 11/07/2012
Cassandra Cocurullo
PETRICE TARRANT
AIMING HIGH: Cassandra Cocurullo has been recognised as an Emerging Young Leader because of her helpfulness, commitment and can-do attitude.

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"Leaders make things happen. Dreamers have a vision. The truly special people do both."

With words like this Sir Peter Blake left big shoes to fill but his leadership trust recognises those with the potential.

Cassandra Cocurullo from Dargaville High School and Eve McCallum from Otamatea High School were chosen as two of those special few.

Cassandra's motto is to aim high and reach out.

From a holiday programme volunteer to a merit level student, it's no wonder the 18-year-old was chosen as one of 20 emerging Northland leaders during the Sir Peter Blake Trust Leadership Week from June 22-29.

The 17 to 25-year-olds took part in a week of Dare to Dream workshops and events that were aimed at connecting the leaders with their community.

They were selected for five qualities – respect, initiative, community involvement, determination and the ability to be a role model.

Cassandra clearly has all of these and more.

She works four part-time jobs and is saving to pay for a bachelor of arts degree while achieving merit grades in level three and finding time to volunteer in the community.

Cassandra's grandmother Ivy Vincent nominated her and says no-one is more deserving.

"She is a bright, upcoming girl and she's always getting involved and right into it. But she's sensible about what she gets into."

Mrs Vincent says volunteering abroad is something Cassandra would be into if she could.

Cassandra says before this nomination she would never have considered herself a leader.

"Now I've kind of figured that anyone can be a leader so long as you are passionate about what you are contributing to."

Dargaville's younger generation is showing promise too.

Eve, 12, was selected by her teachers and peers for the 2012 Young Leader Award for school students aged 9 to 13 who have shown leadership ability and made a contribution to their school or community.

She was presented with a medal and certificate at her school during leadership week.

"We are all extremely proud of Eve," Otamatea High School secretary Nikki Donaldson says.

"She is a delightful young lady with a fantastic future."

And humble Eve knows how to make it happen.

"I'm proud that I got it and I'm thinking of becoming a vet because I love animals."

The award is sponsored by Westpac and presented in 160 primary and intermediate schools across New Zealand.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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