Young mums exceed goals

SARAH DUNN
Last updated 09:34 11/12/2013
Teen parents
MARION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ
SECOND CHANCE: Teen Parent Unit student Flicka O'Brien with her sons, Oscar, 2 and 8-month-old Carter, at the Auckland Point Kindergarten before going to study at the Teen Parent Unit.

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Ten proud young women have finished their first year at the new Teen Parent Unit hosted by Auckland Point School.

The school is funded by Nelson Soroptimists, which set up the unit at Nelson's Impact Church in 2011 with the help of the Abel Tasman Education Trust. The Government provided about $100,000 last year to transform a spare classroom at Auckland Point School into a suitable unit for teen parents.

The new school aims to give pregnant teenagers and new young mums an opportunity to finish or further their schooling in a baby-friendly environment. Its prizegiving on Friday celebrated the unit's first official year of operation.

Head teacher Philippa Trewavas said the year had been interesting, rewarding and challenging.

She said the best part of working with the girls had been observing their desire to achieve, but said the "absolute highlight" had been two days the school spent at outdoor education centre Whenua Iti. The students were encouraged to set personal goals for themselves before going on the outing. "Every single one of them went over and above their goals."

Of the 10 women studying, Kate Flewellen, Felicity O'Brien, Jess Cox and Kelly Francis graduated yesterday. Ms O'Brien achieved NCEA Levels 1 and 2, while Ms Francis was awarded the Nelson Soroptimist International award for Personal Development.

Ms Flewellen gained NCEA Level 1 and scored the Nelson Federation of Graduate Women Trust award, and Ms Cox achieved NCEA Level 1. Marise Bainbridge was given the Nelson Young Parents' School Top Achiever award.

Ms Trewavas said she hoped the graduates would continue to be good mothers to their children, achieve all their goals and get where they wanted to go in their careers.

Miss Flewellen, 24, said it felt "really good" to stand up and receive her prize. She will study travel and tourism at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology next year, saying she wanted to learn more about the world once her sons Jordan Flewellen, 6, and Ryder Mortimer, 2, were old enough.

"I haven't really done a lot of travelling and I just want to get out there."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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