Teens embrace opportunities of plan
As the end of the academic year approaches, Rodney Crichton and Raymond Schuster have given learning their all.
The Kelston Boys High School students are just a small proportion of Pacific Island pupils throughout New Zealand thriving from the Education Ministry's Pasifika Education Plan.
In partnership with the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, the plan is implemented into schools across the country to lift Pasifika educational achievement and emphasise the engagement between Pasifika parents, families and teachers.
The 2013 to 2017 plan was launched at the school on November 22.
Rodney, 18, lives in Swanson and comes from a family of seven siblings.
He's the second in his family who will attend a tertiary institution and hopes to be accepted to Auckland University next year where he will complete a bachelor of arts.
Rodney attributes his family and teachers for both his academic and sporting success.
"I achieved both NCEA level one and two with merit and I made it into the first XV rugby team this year," he says.
"I got there thorough my family, peers, church and community. They've all helped towards my success."
Rodney says attitude is an important ingredient to success.
"It's about not letting others get in your way and having good peers and a good social group," Rodney says.
Raymond, 17, from Henderson agrees.
He will further his studies at Auckland University to study science, and then medicine.
"The programme has really helped me. I've had a lot of support. Here at Kelston they really cater to Pacific students," he says.
"The teachers, as well as the brotherhood, have supported and helped me with my education."
Both Rodney and Raymond have received a Trusts Community Scholarship to assist them in further studies.
Kelston Boys holds a range of programmes as part of the Pasifika Plan which pushes students to achieve to the best of their ability.
Programmes include Mates in which Auckland University students are matched with high school students to mentor them in their chosen field.
Kelston Boys assistant principal Terry Harrison says the plan finds ways for Pacific students from low socio-economic backgrounds to excel at school, and get into tertiary education to become role models for their generation.
"We have put a lot of emphasis on family and community engagement. We're trying to engage the boys as learners and make sure they're comfortable with themselves, their identity, and their values."
Pasifika dean at Kelston Boys Daniel Samuela says the plan has decreased the academic gap among Pasifika students.
"Pacific achievement won't be different to any other achievement. It will be up with all the other groups in school. If this works, there wont be any need for other Pacific education plans," he says.
The role at Kelston Boys is 950 and 50 per cent of students are Pasifika.
Secretary for education Lesley Longstone says one of the goals in the plan is to better Pasifika achievement by improving the way teachers engage with students' families and communities.
"We want an education system where teachers have the cultural knowledge to build effective relationships with the learner and their families because Pasifika achievement is a collaborative effort."