Help Theodore get to France

DREAM TRIP: Theodore Loretz has been chosen to represent the country as a young ambassador in France in July.
DREAM TRIP: Theodore Loretz has been chosen to represent the country as a young ambassador in France in July.

A dream trip to France is hanging in the balance for a young Avondale student if he can't fundraise enough money in time.

Theodore Loretz, 17, has been selected as one of 10 young ambassadors representing New Zealand to travel to France in July.

The trip is part of the Shared Histories education programme, designed to commemorate World War I and boost relations between France and New Zealand.

Theodore was invited in late February to attend the trip, meaning he only has a short time to fundraise for the $2000 cost, something his family can't afford.

"I am the second eldest of nine children and only one of my parents works.

"My family is very supportive of me but it is just not possible for me to pay for this myself."

The Mt Roskill Grammar student has studied French at school for five years and was inspired to apply for a position on the trip when the school received a visit from the French politician Kader Arif last year. As a young ambassador, Theodore is completing a personal project looking at the spiritual and psychological needs of soldiers during the war, focusing on a chaplain from Petone Father James Joseph McMenamin.

The project will be featured on the Shared Histories website.

"I enjoy looking at World War I at a personal level, a lot of these men were around my age when they went overseas. I'm interested in the people and what they would have gone through.

"This is a great opportunity and would mean a lot if I got to go."

Theodore's mentor and teacher at school Darren Simpson says the project could be seen as a virtual time capsule.

"A lot of the ideas and stories are dying off with older generations.

"It is important at this time when we are losing our veterans to keep stories and information available, and what is out there doesn't necessarily have a young voice."

To view Theodore's young ambassador blog visit and if you wish to donate to the trip contact

Donations can also be made to the bank account number 06-0185-0441063-00

Western Leader