Class Act 2023: Trinity Catholic College

April Gamao


April Gamao is reaping the rewards of hard work, for herself and others.

The 17-year-old Trinity Catholic College environmental perfect has overcome her share of hardships and wants to make the world a better place for others.

April moved to New Zealand from the Philippines at age 3 to live with her mum.

Now, she wants to become an engineer so she can build a house for family in the Philippines. She plans to study engineering at the University of Canterbury to gain those skills as well as to learn more about how the world works.

Her struggles have made her want to do well for herself so she has the ability to provide for her family.

April is inspired by her mum, a woman who worked multiple jobs and long hours to provide for her children.

April wants to be able to provide for her mother in her retirement.

"I’m trying to make things better for them when they retire."

April also enjoys dancing, particularly hip-hop. What started as a childhood activity turned into a passion and eventually led to dance competitions.

She has also used her dance skills to help choreograph the school’s production of The Addams Family and start the school’s first hip-hop crews.

April has been a leader at numerous Edmund Rice camps, giving opportunities and experience for under-privileged children.

She works hard to ensure the children at the camps feel happy and heard.


Achievements: NCEA Level 1 and 2 endorsed with excellence; Zonta prize (2022); 1st in class award (2022); 1st in dance with outstanding achievement (2022); 1st in physics with commendation (2022); outstanding achievement in biology (2022); outstanding achievement in religious studies (2022); commendation in chemistry (2022); commendation in mathematics extension (2022); Dancer’s Cup (2022); environmental prefect (2023); cultural excellence award (2022); choreography of the school’s production of The Addams Family (2023); kapa haka member (2018, 23); Tangata Moana member (2018, 2023); Wall of Fame for recognition at a national level (2022); 1st national hip-hop small crew (2019, 2021, 2022); most outstanding national hip-hop crew (2019, 2021, 2022); Edmund Rice Camp volunteer (2022, 2023); peer support (2023); Asia Pacific Dance Association top tier award (2021); one of three highest Asia Pacific Dance Association dance exam scores (2021); badminton team member (2022, 2023); Young Vinnies member (2023); JKA Dunedin member (2023)
Role models: Her mum, because she works hard to provide for her children.

Hopes for the future: To study engineering at the University of Canterbury.


Samuel Kelly


You never know who you may meet when you introduce yourself to Samuel Kelly.

The passionate actor enjoys a variety of roles, particularly those with a darker side, although he is usually cast as a romantic lead or narrator.

The 17-year-old Trinity Catholic College pupil has been involved in about 15 theatre and drama productions.

"I really love singing. I really love dancing. I really love acting," he says.

He likes getting reactions from audiences and, looking back at his performance career, Samuel says he has had great experiences and no regrets.

"I love just being on stage."

Samuel’s involvement in theatre and drama has led him to want a profession in the arts. His ultimate career would be stage performance in the United Kingdom or Australia.

His parents surrounded him with music from a young age and Samuel believes this influenced his own love of music.

"Having a lot of musical stuff around me definitely influenced my perception of that," he says.

His parents encouraged him to try everything he could.

He does not think he would be involved in performing arts without their support and influence.

Despite his love for the arts, he has always thought he would end up as a teacher. His parents are both teachers and Samuel has also discovered a love for the same.

He would like to teach maths or performing arts to high school pupils.

Samuel excels in maths — often doing work a year above his peers — and helps teach his classmates.

Samuel’s role model is his acting teacher, Cindy Diver, who has helped him develop his acting skills and provided opportunities for him to be involved in theatre productions.

He is inspired by her work ethic, caring nature and ability to overcome problems.


Achievements: NCEA Level 1 and 2 with excellence; top vocalist in Dunedin Youth Jazz festival (2022); production of the year at Dunedin theatre awards (2021); best ensemble award at Shakespeare festival (2023); Roslyn Football Club league winner in 14/15 grade (2020); Northern AFC League winner in U17 football (2022); overall best pupil (2020); top scholar (2019, 20); theatre sports cup (2021); cultural committee cup (2021); Stephen Chambers Cup (2022);  grade 5 singing (2023); Highland dancing Intermediate (2023); tap dancing (2018-22); tap dancing American 7 (2022); blue awards for production (2020-22); blue for Shakespeare (2022); blue for school music (2022); blue for pantomime (2020)

Role models: Acting teacher Cindy Diver.

Hopes for the future: Considering a double degree in maths and bachelor of performing arts at the University of Otago, but hopes to have a career in stage performance, music and theatre.