Van donation keeps school on the move

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 08:12 21/09/2012

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Aoraki Mt Cook School's pupils will find it easier to go places thanks to a donation from Meridian.

The school, located within the national park, received $24,000 towards a van from the Meridian-Waitaki community fund. Principal Coral Butler said the school was delighted with the announcement.

"We're waiting for the van to arrive this week," she said.

"It's going to be such an advantage for the school, it will mean we will be able to go places or get to events we wouldn't otherwise have had the chance to," she said.

Ms Butler said the school's trip down the Waitaki Valley earlier this year raised the importance of having an easy mode of transport to take all of its pupils.

"We were fortunate to be able to borrow a van from the Hermitage Hotel. It's so much easier to talk to the students and teach as we travel if they're all in one vehicle, rather than being driven in separate parents' vehicles," she said.

"The pupils learnt about the water cycle system from Aoraki/Mt Cook to the Tasman Glacier, lake and river, Pukaki Lake and canals and then the Waitaki River systems all the way down to the Pacific Ocean. They followed this on maps as well and afterwards were able to represent the cycle on diagrams. Their understanding of it was outstanding."

Ms Butler said the school, which has a roll of eight pupils, often found it difficult to travel to cultural or sporting events.

"We're in a very remote location, so cultural groups or sports events don't tend to come to us," she said.

Ms Butler said the 11-seater van would also make it easier to travel around the national park.

"It's unique having the national park right on our doorstep. We want the pupils to experience and understand as much of the area as possible," she said.

Other groups who received funding in the latest round of Meridian-Waitaki community grants included Twizel Junior Netball Club, who received $3000 towards new uniforms, and the Waitaki Riparian Enhancement Society, which received $7766 towards the enhancement of the Bell's Pond salmon race on the Waitaki River.

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