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11 November 2022

Nukutere College inducts new student leaders

Saturday 28 January 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Education, National


Nukutere College inducts new student leaders
Nukutere College student leaders 2023 with the school principal Delaney Yaqona and the head of the Cook Islands Catholic Church, Bishop Paul Donoghue outside the St Joseph Cathedral. 23012729 / LOSIRENE LACANIVALU

Ten, Year 11 students of Nukutere College were inducted as student leaders yesterday.

They were among the first Year 10 students who were given a chance to apply for the leadership roles.

School principal Delaney Yaqona said the journey started months ago and for the first time, students have applied to be a student leader at the College.

Yaqona said that they noticed in recent years students struggled to be leaders.

“The way social media is taking over a lot of their lives, what we have found is a change. Students from about 20 years ago, one of the things that they did very well was self-management, they could look after themselves and manage their school work.

“Whereas a lot of our kids today struggle to do that, let alone take on an extra responsibility of leadership.”

Yaqona said to help students with that, they organised a leadership retreat in October last year for Year 10 students.

He said this was an open invitation for the Year 10 students, where they were shown ways to be leaders.

“After the weekend we got them to apply because we hoped that by opening their eyes to the reality of what a prefect is all about it may get them to rethink about whether they really want to do it.

“The hope was that after the leadership retreat, they would be in a better position to decide if they wanted to be prefects and so that’s what happened.”
Yaqona told the new leaders that this was now their time to shine.

“The beauty of this opportunity is that they are starting their final year fresh, no one has any baggage, no discipline issues to deal with. Build on that as you go forward.”

Head Boy, Erene Viriona, 16, said the new role is a big opportunity for him and it will be a challenge. He said he would do his best.

Head boy Erene Viriona with mum Teiti Tioon. 23012730 : LOSIRENE LACANIVALU

Viriona said he always wanted to be a role model and a leader.

The Kiribati lad acknowledged his parents, friends and teachers for their support.

Proud mum, Teiti Tioon said she didn’t know her son was being inducted as head boy as she was only told to attend the event. She said she was “so proud of him”.

Head girl Tuaanaore Mitchell, 15, said she looked forward to the challenging year as a leader as well as studying to complete Year 11.

Head girl Tuaanaore Mitchell with mum Tatari Mitchell-Ngatoko. 23012731

Mum, Tatari Mitchell-Ngatoko said like any ex-pupil and ex-teacher of the school, it was a proud moment for her.

Mitchell was introduced to leadership roles in primary school at St Joseph’s.

Having inclusiveness in the school is important and Year 11 student Elijah Nootai is part of the student leaders’ team this year.

The happy lad was applauded when he was inducted and families and friends gathered to congratulate him.

Mum, Liz Nootai, said: “I am totally excited for him, because inclusion matters in the Cook Islands. He has been included. He joined Nukutere back in 2019.”

Tatari Mitchell-Ngatoko with Elijah Nootai and his mum Liz Nootai. 23012732 / 23012733 / LOSIRENE LACANIVALU

Nukutere’s current roll is 153 and the school is expecting more students.

Yaqona said this year they hope to start the parental support programme, which was supposed to get underway pre-Covid.

“We find that a lot of parents today struggle to help their children with school work, that’s because education today is different from what it was like when they were parents.

“So this programme is designed to help our 21st century parents help their 21st century children through their school journey.”

He added this would also be an opportunity for students to have additional time outside of normal school hours and have a one on one tutorial with teachers to help with their studies.