A great achievement was made by the NCEA level 1’s with the highest-ever participation pass rate of 87 per cent, coupled with a healthy number of merit and excellence certificate endorsements.
Many students are in the midst of confirming their plans for 2016. Some are going overseas to pursue further studies, while others have opted to stay back in Rarotonga and work or do online studies.
Former year 13 student Ioana Puna will be leaving Rarotonga to study psychology at the University of Auckland.
“I wanted to study psychology as it is an interesting field of work to be involved in,” said Puna.
“It will definitely be a fascinating experience to put myself in others shoes and try to understand how they feel and why they respond to things or different situations the way they do.
“I think the biggest difficulty will be learning how to maintain a balance between my social and school life.
“It will be a new setting and seeing as New Zealand’s social youth life differs from that of the social life here on Rarotonga, it will be a challenge, but one I look forward to.”
Puna wants to become a psychologist and to eventually become a doctor.
“As long as it’s a job where I can help other people, health-wise and I’m willing to do the hard yards to get there,” she said.
Puna said she will miss the freedom of life on Rarotonga.
“I will miss the freedom to drive around on a motorbike, being able to walk to places knowing they are just around the corner, wearing jandals without getting cold feet and the freedom to eat with your fingers without people looking at you like you’re weird.
“However, most of all, I will definitely miss my family and friends and of course paddling.”
Puna believes it is important to surround herself with people who have a positive influence on her life and are able to inspire her to keep going and pursue to the best of her ability.
Another former year 13 student, Geena Napa, is leaving Rarotonga to attend Brigham Young University in Hawaii and will be studying for a degree in business management.
“I have been surrounded by a hardworking, business-orientated family and I would love to be my own boss and eventually come back to contribute my services and ideas to the Cook Islands and to continue the legacy of my grandfather the late Harry Napa,” said Napa.
Napa plans to study for three years, completing nine semesters.
“I feel for my parents who will be running our family business in Rarotonga with my younger siblings to support me, so I want to make my parents proud by achieving great grades.”
Napa sees Ellena Tavioni Pittman as a great example of a striving entrepreneur in fashion and would love to be like her in the future.
Another year 13 student, Montel Williams, has decided to stay on Rarotonga for this year.
“I am currently working at Rarotonga Printing as a graphic designer and have been working there since December,” he said.
Williams plans to work for the remainder of the year.
“I want to be an architect and this job is a great start because I can get a head start developing my computing skills and produce more creative ideas.
“I may study after a year of work, but at the moment I just want to stay in my comfort zone and then when I’m ready I will most likely go to university.
“But I’m still undecided,” said Williams.