Attention: Academy starts new year

NATASHA THYNE
Last updated 08:52 24/01/2014
opihi services academy
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax NZ
PROUD 'FAMILY': The Opihi Services Academy have had a life-changing year. Back, from left, Nikolas Dromgool, Ben Krouse, Jeremiah Tor-Kilsen, Jamie Mason, Laz Gerrard. Middle, Anthony Ross, Liam Atwill, Hannah Preddy. Front, Makaira Keene, Justis Kirkwood, Willie Hetaraka and director Stacey McVeigh.

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Opihi Service Academy has just kicked off its fourth year after a successful 2013 with past members moving on to join the army.

The practical course that helps train students for a career in the services has 11 spots filled for 2014, including two girls, with four spots left.

Director of Opihi Services Academy, Stacey McVeigh, said the reputation of the course is continuing to grow with 90 per cent of students leaving in a better place than they would have been.

"We've got our first lot going into the army, and past students drop in all the time," she said.

Miss McVeigh is the only female director of a service academy in the country and enjoys having such a big impact on the students' lives.

"I'm not a religious person, but I believe that everyone was put here for a reason and this is mine."

During the course students do military training, including drill every morning, and also learn how to iron their uniforms properly and clean and make their beds to army standard. In early March the students will be going to Burnham Army Camp's induction training fortnight with other South Island service academies.

Miss McVeigh said in past years they have taken home multiple trophies, so this year's students will have big shoes to fill. She was confident they could do it.

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- The Timaru Herald

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