US pair praise Southland schools' ball

20:35, Jun 11 2010
Southland Boys' and Southland Girls' high schools seniors
LET'S DANCE: Southland Boys' and Southland Girls' high schools seniors in their finery at last night's combined ball. About 400 students from both schools donned gowns and tuxedos for the secret garden-themed event.

Southland does it better.

That's the verdict from two United States high school students transplanted at last night's combined Southland Boys' and Southland Girls' high schools ball.

The praise came from Trenor Wilkins and Kayla Kennedy, a pair weaned on the traditional high school prom, an institution as American as mom and apple pie.

The Tampa, Florida, natives who are seniors at HB Plant High School, joined about 400 other southern beaus and belles at the secret garden-themed ball held at Stadium Southland in Invercargill.

Trenor, who has been in Invercargill since January on a student exchange, said the Kiwi-version had impressed him. "I would say this is way better," he said.

His and "good mate" Kayla's ball experience included being driven to the big event in a Chevrolet, the paparazzi treatment from a crowd of envious younger girls at the stadium's entrance, walking a red carpet and being paraded in front of pride-swelled parents, he said.


"Back home we show up, have a dance and go home." Kayla, who arrived in New Zealand on holiday on Thursday, agreed.

"It's definitely a lot more formal – it's nice." For Trenor, last night's ball stood in for his own senior prom, which he missed while on his exchange, which finishes next month.

"I'm here until July 5, which I'm also pretty bummed about – I miss Fourth of July (American Independence Day) celebrations." For both, last night's ball comes close to the end of their schooling.

A series of photos of ball couples will loaded on our website,, in the coming days.

We want to see your snaps, too.

Send your ball pictures to and we'll put them in our online gallery.

Make sure you include the names of everyone in the photo caption details.

The Southland Times