Top student already high flyer
With exams over and the summer holidays under way, most students are flying high at this time of the year, but this year's Rai Valley Area School top student has taken it a step further.
Jacques Breedt, 18, was awarded the school's top honours at the school's prizegiving last night, but was unable to accept them in person as he was in Auckland studying to become a pilot.
He was first in English and Science, and received the Overall Citizenship/School-wide contribution award, the Marlborough Lines Award, the Nelson Mail Top Student Award, and the Marlborough Community Service Award.
He was also one of 15 Nelson teenagers recognised with an ASB Community Bursary Award earlier this year for his work with the school's fundraising events, his captaincy of the school's annual school tournament, and his mentoring work with younger students.
He is now studying for his private pilot's licence at Ardmore Flying School in Auckland, eventually working towards his commercial pilot's licence.
While his fellow Rai Valley students received their awards and certificates for their hard work, he was studying late into the night for his new course.
He had been "a bit gutted" to miss out on the ceremony, he said.
Jacques said he had wanted to be a pilot all his life, which he put down to his father's job as an aircraft engineer, and spending so much time with planes as he was growing up.
Eventually he wanted to get into search and rescue, or become an instructor and teach aircraft law or meteorology.
Mum Madelein was on hand last night to collect his trophies and certificates.
It had been "heartbreaking" saying goodbye to him, but she was looking forward to seeing him again at Christmas.
She said he had wanted to be a pilot since he was very young, and had always had a knack for maths and science. "He doesn't take after his mum."
Principal Angela Sloane said Jacques was an outstanding role model in the school, and helped out in all sorts of ways.
"He's always there and always very helpful to everybody.
"We wish him all the best."
Mrs Sloane, who became principal at the school in July, said she had been impressed with what she had seen so far.
There was a family atmosphere, with older students looking after the younger ones.
"There are wonderful students, a great team of staff behind me, and the community is getting behind the school too."
Year 10: Lisa Sandrey, First in Class - English, Soft Technology, Mathematics, Science, Hard technology, Computing and Art.
Year 11: Petra Dunlop, First in Class - Science, Home Economics and Mathematics. Jenna Cadwallader, First in Class - Hard technology and Computing. Jessie Forbes, First in Class - English.
Year 12 and 13: Janelle Cadwallader, First in Class - English. Robert Blankendaal, First in Class - Hard technology. Jacques Breedt, First in Class - English, Science. Also received the Overall Citizenship/School-wide contribution award, the Marlborough Community Service Award, and the Marlborough Lines Award.