Preparing for a personal styling evening in Wanaka on Saturday to raise funds for a Mount Aspiring College English department trip to New York and Washington are teacher Gena Bagley (front left) and pupil Caitlin Lumsden (17) with fellow pupils (back, from left) Sam Hadida (17), Ella Glynn (16) and Kasper Humphrey (17). Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
As a Wanaka secondary school teacher, mother of two and
in-demand wedding make-up artist, Gena Bagley is used to
However, her latest project - raising $36,000 in five months
to take 18 teenagers to the United States - has taken
managing tight timeframes to a new level.
''It's a massive undertaking ... it's incredibly ambitious,''
Ms Bagley (33) acknowledged.
While most overseas school trips allowed up to 18 months to
raise funds, it ''seemed like the perfect time'' for Mount
Aspiring College's English department to embark on an
international adventure this spring.
''The department is doing incredibly well and this seemed
like a way to further extend our success, understanding and
engaging in the ideas that underpin the English learning and
Her year 12 and 13 pupils loved the idea when she pitched it
last month and, after a meeting with parents, plans quickly
''snowballed'' into a fully-fledged travel itinerary taking
in the cultural and historical highlights of New York and
The pupils - who leave on their 10-day trip at the end of
September with Ms Bagley and music teacher Mathew Doyle as
chaperones - immediately got into full fundraising mode.
''The first weekend we came up with the idea, we were already
out there,'' Kasper Humphrey (17) said.
''The whole fundraising experience has been quite beneficial
... it's provided a nice opportunity to get to know the
Profits from cleaning toilets, ''gigateering'' [promotion
work] for Wanaka's Gigatown team, rubbish collections,
sausage sizzles, babysitting and Ms Bagley doing the makeup
for the school formal have all contributed to the travel
A personal styling evening this Saturday at The Venue in
Wanaka will be the group's first major event aimed at
boosting the coffers considerably.
Ms Bagley and her pupils know they have no small task ahead
of them in meeting the trip's big budget, ''but we're going
to get there'', Ella Glynn (16) said.
''Nothing's going to stop us,'' Ms Bagley agreed.
''I'm a firm believer that if you set your mind to something
then you achieve your goal and I hope that's rubbing off on
The tour programme will include Times Square, Harlem, Ground
Zero, the Empire State Building, the White House and
''It's so exciting,'' Kasper said.