Class Act 2023: Roxburgh Area School

Danielle Andrews


When Danielle Andrews enters the University of Otago next year, she will become the first in her family to attend university, something she describes as an "enormous honour and privilege".

The 17-year-old Roxburgh Area School pupil will study towards a bachelor of science, majoring in chemistry.

"I have always been fascinated by science and how the world works."

A BSc seems like a great place to start, she says.

While she admits she is not completely sure where her career path will lead, she can see herself working to protect the nation’s environment.

Growing up in a rural area has given her a great appreciation for New Zealand’s natural beauty.

"I see myself as having a duty to help protect that for future generations of New Zealanders."

Her time at biology science camps has given her first-hand experience of mankind’s impact on the natural environment.

"My affinity with the New Zealand landscape is a constant reminder of what is important."

Danielle also hopes to work in an area where she can help people.

"There is so much out there to explore in the world."

Her role as head pupil has developed her self-assurance.

This confidence drove her to enrol in a bachelor of science, she says.

"I am going to have to push myself out of my comfort zone and challenge myself.’

Danielle thanks her mother, who has fostered her since she was 8, for helping her be the best version of herself.

"Without her love and support, I wouldn’t be able to imagine being a Class Act recipient, let alone being here."


Achievements: House leader (2023); head pupil (2023); board of trustees student representative (2023); senior A netball team (2021-22); coach of junior netball team (2021); taekwondo 2nd South Islands championships (2019); taekwondo (green belt) (2019-21); Circus Space Community Trust volunteer coach (2022-23); Aerials silks training (2021-23);Akaroa leadership camp (2022); Sticks n Stones committee member (2021-23) 40-hour famine committee member (2022); Perris Cup speech competition winner (2023); diligence award (2019-22); citizenship award (2019 - 2022); NCEA level 1 with excellence (2021); NCEA level 2 with excellence (2022);  personal excellence award for endeavour and effort (2020); food technology prize (2021-22); joint top scholar (2022).

Role model: Her foster mother, who is the most caring and compassionate person Danielle knows.
Future hopes: To study towards a bachelor of science at the University of Otago, majoring in chemistry.


Luke McKerchar


Luke McKerchar hopes his personal experience with optometry will help him bring clearer vision to people everywhere.

His interest in the profession was sparked several years ago after a "bit of a tussle" with his sister left him temporarily blind in one eye, giving him insight into the important work done by optometrists.

"I got to see inside and know a little bit about the optical side of medicine," Luke said.

The 18-year-old Roxburgh Area School pupil will study towards a bachelor of health science at the University of Otago, before completing a bachelor of optometry in Auckland.

Optometry was an important medical field that affected a large and diverse group of people, Luke said.

He got an idea of this when he travelled around the country over the school holidays and met many people who were affected by poor eye health and had received optical operations.

Luke is a head pupil at Roxburgh Area School as well as a house captain and has sat on the school council for the past five years.

He says these leadership roles have helped him to develop his skills for working with a wide range of people.

"These skills would work equally well in optometry, where patients would come from a diverse background."

In the future, he hopes to open his own optical business.

Luke has worked hard at school, and received both level 1 and level 2 NCEA with excellence endorsed.

He says he gained his work ethic from his parents, as he watched them build their business.


Achievements: Head pupil (2023); house leader (2023); Sticks ’n  Stones (2019-23); student council class representative (2019-23); NCEA level 1 with excellence (2021); NCEA level 2 with excellence (2022); top scholar (2017-22); Pioneer Energy science and technology scholarship (2021-22); Jan Morgan Trophy (2020); Citizenship Award (2019-22); Diligence Award (2019-22); online learning recognition award (2022); Gateway outstanding achievement award (2021); New Zealand High School Rodeo Team (2020); South Island rodeoteam 
(2021); South Island Area Schools kī o rahi team (2023); South of the South team: volleyball, football (2022-23), kī o rahi (2023); Melbourne Cup golf team (2022); Central Barrel Racing Series rookie champion (2019-20); senior boys tennis champion (2021-22);  school rodeo team (2020); interschool showjumping team (2022); Perris Cup for speech; school productions (2019-20); interschool debating winner (2019).
Hopes for the future: To pursue a career in optometry aiming to open and manage his own optical business.
Role model: He has many positive role models in life. Luke says he is constantly reminded of the age-old saying, "It takes a village to raise a child".