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Small school with big heart

Saturday 26 November 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Education, National


Small school with big heart
Nukutere College Year 11 student Terrisa Piri was yesterday named the Dux of the Year at the school’s prizegiving ceremony.

The sweet voice of Elijah Nootai singing the National Anthem with such passion and pride rang soundly at the Nukutere College prizegiving ceremony on Friday.

A special prizegiving mass was held in the morning at the St Joseph’s Cathedral before the main event at the school grounds.

The event marked the graduation of Year 11 students who entered the school gate five years ago.

The prestigious Nukutere College Dux Award went to Terrisa Piri.

Piri said she was humbled to receive the prestigious award presented to the best academic student of the graduating class.

“Work hard and always think you can achieve anything,” said Piri, who is looking forward to furthering her secondary school studies next year.

Nukutere College Year 11 students donate $6,000 for the school to Principal of Nukutere College Delaney Yaqona. 22112525

Head girl of the school, Jana Moemai received the respected and high distinction award of Proxime Accessit (runner-up Dux).

“I feel amazed and proud. I have so much love for this school and it just feels amazing having done all this effort and work, so I’m really proud,” said Moemai.

Moemai is looking forward to next year. “I want to make everyone proud,” she said.

Vaine Wichman from the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) acknowledged the teachers and parents saying they have been able to deliver the required education system and standard. She said the prizegiving was a witness to this commitment.

Nukutere College Proxime Accessit, Jana Moemai and her proud parents Aitutagata and Louie Moemai. 22112515

“Today, we again honour the achievements based on hard work, lets never forget that behind the students receiving these awards today is a family, a community that has supported them,” said Wichman.

On behalf of the chairman Eddie Drollet, Wichman extended the committee’s greetings to the families and students.

“May the peace of Christ keep you all safe this Christmas. We meet again in 2023 with renewed hope and commitment, love and to serve our school,” said Wichman.

The Year 11 students also presented a $6000 cheque to principal Delaney Yaqona. The money was raised from their fundraising activities including sausage sizzles at Prime Foods held throughout the year.

Yaqona’s contract as principal has been renewed for another three years.

“This is our family, we may be a small school but we have a big heart,” said Yaqona in his address.

To the graduating Year 11 students, he said: “You have been a handful to say the least. However, in your own unique way each of you have given something back to Nukutere College and for that you will always have my gratitude and the gratitude of your school.”

Moemai closed off the proceedings speaking warmly of her respect and love for the college.

“Nukutere is where I have many memories that I’ll cherish forever starting from the first college mass five years ago, to the last this morning.

“It has been a place of love, care and support. Nothing can compare to that, Nukutere is our family.

“This school has allowed me to be who I am and I’m heartbroken having to leave all this love behind.

Nukutere College Year 11 students Felisitas Fonorito, Talei Noovao Blake and Brett George. 22112527

“As leaders we are faced with many challenges and struggles but because we believe in each other we are able to overcome tough times.”

Moemai believes she has done her best for the school and acknowledged that without the amazing team of prefects, and the deputy head girl Terrisa Piri, head boy Harry Taripo and deputy head boy Tione Nand, the best would not have been achieved.

Grateful to the amazing teachers and teacher aides, Moemai said: “Thank you for always pushing us to strive to the best of our abilities.”

“To my inclusive education unit, thank you for always being my other family and always supporting us in everything that we do. To my fellow students, thank you for always giving me a hard time and stressing me out … you have all played an incredible role in my life. And to the future prefects of the school, we wish you well and God’s blessings.”


The Nukutere College 2022 special and elite awards are: Te Tama Aruaru award: Maeva-Rangi Browne, Excellence in English Harry Taripo, The Brother Ignacy Mathematics Memorial award Terrisa Piri, Te Marae Ora Excellence in Science shield Jana Moemai, Excellence in Cook Islands Maori award Tione Nand, Excellence in Commerce Jana Moemai, Massey Mateariki Memorial senior leadership award Tione Nand, Special Character award Jana Moemai, General Diligence Helina Williams, General Excellence Jana Moemai, Proxime Accessit Jana Moemai, Nukutere College Dux Terrisa Piri.

Head Harry Taripo received an Excellence in English among other awards. 22112528

Year 7 Diligence award Talia Adams, 3rd  in Year 7 Maraea Wichman, 2nd Vainemoeroa Tauira, 1st Tairatea Aue; Year 8 Diligence award Christina Tekii, 3rd in Year Tania Teinaki, 2nd Leu Moemai, 1st Charles-Trevor Woonton; Year 9 Diligence award for Jade Cowan, 3rd in Year 9 Etukura Kirikava, 2nd Noovao Noovao-Blake, 1st Elizabeth Akaruru; Year 10 Diligence award Aporo Vano, 3rd in Year 10 Te Pa o te Rangi Tupa, 2nd Teuraarii Macquarie, 1st Tuaanaore Mitchell.

Sports awards: Junior Girls champion Electra Pauka, Junior Boys champion Tyler Emile, Senior Girls champion Anna Kamikamica, Senior Boys champion for Tuakeu Paerau; Overall sports Female champion of the year award Tehani Matapo, Overall sports Boy champion of the year award Tione Nand, Overall house winners Edmund Rice and Peter Chanel.