Some bright Warkworth Primary School students know about being sun-smart.
The sun-conscious students are among the two Auckland region winners of the Cancer Foundation's SunSmart video competition. North Shore's Birkenhead Primary is the co-winner.
Pupils had to make a short video on how, or why, their school should be sun-smart.
Warkworth beat more than 57 other entries for the title, winning a Samsung camera and SunSmart giftpack of frisbees, pens and stickers.
When their achievement was announced at assembly, the reaction on all their faces was priceless, teacher Oliver Harris says.
His year 3 pupils came up with the idea that "being sunburnt is like a game you don't want to win", Mr Harris says.
"We made up a gameshow called Sunburn Spinners, like a Wheel of Fortune show. Our two lovely unsmart hosts were looking for students to spin their wheel."
Students who put on hats or went under a shade were disqualified, while those who went out without wearing the correct protective gear got a chance to spin the wheel to win the grand prize of melanoma.
"The children selected the cast, made the props, filmed and refilmed the scenes and edited the clips themselves," Mr Harris says.
"They also got to meet people from Huhu Studios in Snells Beach to see what it takes to make a film."
Mr Harris says he enjoyed seeing his students respond to their assigned tasks, and how they grew through the process.
New Zealand has the highest incidence rates of melanoma skin cancer. Melanoma was the sixth most common cause of death from cancer in 2008. Melanoma can be prevented by reducing excessive exposure to ultraviolet. People are advised to slip on loose clothing, slop on plenty of sunscreen, slap on a wide-brim hat, and wrap on a pair of sunglasses.
Visit www.cancernz.org.nz for information.
Orewa College associate principal Paul Hicks is retiring this month after 30 years of service.
Mr Hicks was appointed on the spot as teacher of mathematics and science at the school in 1980, while just dropping in to the college to make some inquiries.
"He initially only visited the school to offer his services as a relief teacher," principal Kate Shevland says.
"Paul has seen the school grow from 663 students in his first year, to nearly 2000 now."
Mr Hicks was appointed associate principal in 1995, and was involved in the performing arts area, and the Spirit of Adventure Trust.
"He has been a very popular teacher and has also enjoyed time spent in the technology workshops, making and modifying a few parts for his vintage car," Mrs Shevland says.
Mr Hicks was a member of the school's international department, interacting with foreign students and forming deep friendships with agents, parents and students.
He played a key role looking after the school's South American students and educational agents.
Mr Hicks' last day is on December 16.
Rodney College students won a table full of trophies at the New Zealand Cadet Forces regional skills competition.
The New Zealand Cadet Forces is open to youths aged 13 to 18, and comprises the Sea Cadet Corps, the New Zealand Cadet Corps and the Air Training Corps.
The NZCF is a voluntary, disciplined, uniformed youth leadership training organisation.
Around 11 teams from Tauponorth competed during the first week of the term three holidays at Whangaparaoa naval base.
Rodney's team, led by student Romahn Howard, included Kaedyn Patterson, Sean Mitchell, Emily Grayson, Renee Johnson, Sam Bridge, Talbot deKosta-Kupa and Simone Cameron, and Tahlia Howard of Otamatea High School.
The students had been training hard in the term before competition and this paid off with them winning trophies, parent Sandra Grayson says.
"Terrible weather in the first week of the holidays did nothing to slow this team down, competing on little sleep and working in the pouring rain," Sandra says.
"They showed the grit and professionalism that makes them perform at the very highest level."
Tahlia also won the overall Top Cadet Trophy, making it the biggest win for the unit.
The team will now train for the national competition at Linton Army Camp near Palmerston North, from December 14 to 16.
- Rodney Times
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