School helps kids produce book

Three Invercargill school pupils aged from 9 to 11 have published a book to help their classmates deal with difficult situations and be better role models.

Invercargill Middle School pupils Jericho Te Huna, 9, Caleb McCall, 9, and Jade Poupouare-Spiers, 11, created the book during a pioneering young leadership programme, run by police youth services and social workers in schools.

The book, called How to be an Awesome Kid, is being professionally printed in Wellington and will be used in future teaching modules.

Police youth services child cases manager Cushla O'Neill said the group leadership programme at Invercargill Middle School was a first for Southland, and she and Jade Unahi, the social worker assigned to Invercargill Middle School, hoped to replicate it in other schools.

During the programme, the three pupils worked through strategies for difficult situations such as dealing with anger, and also thought up ways to be good role models and respect others.

Ms O'Neill said publishing a book was not originally on the leadership programme agenda.

"It was Caleb who said we should write a book about this. Jade [Unahi] was like, if we're going to do it, we might as well do it properly."

Principal Stan Tiatia said the trio had been chosen to participate in the programme because they had been identified as having the potential to be young leaders.

The book had not yet arrived at the school, as its publication was delayed by the Wellington earthquakes, he said.

However, the leadership training had already achieved results - Jade was now a young leader at the school and Jericho a kaea [senior member] in the school's kapa haka group, Mr Tiatia said.

The Southland Times