Class Act 2023: Wakatipu High School

Sammy Fookes


Doctor in the making, Sammy Fookes still finds time to hang out with her friends, ski and snowboard and get ‘‘pretty good at baking’’.

‘‘Most of my time is taken up by school and sports,’’ she said.

The 18-year-old Wakatipu High School deputy head pupil has an impressive list of academic and sporting achievements, from captaining the Central Otago U18 Women’s Hockey Team and achieving excellence endorsement in NCEA levels 1, 2 and 3 to gaining distinction in biology and physics and commendations in English and level 3 chemistry.

She has been a Community Service Council member for the past three years and, in her first year of high school, won the Wakatipu High School award for top year 9 academic achiever among numerous other prizes.

Sammy plans to continue playing hockey and doing athletics. She is also thinking of studying first-year health sciences at the University of Otago but has not ruled out studying overseas.

‘‘When I leave school, I aim to go to university. Hopefully, to become a doctor,’’ Sammy said.

‘‘My ultimate dream is to finish training as a doctor for an organisation that provides medical care in developing areas in the world.’’

But in the meantime, she also hopes to do some travel of her own.

‘‘I know that whatever I do after school, I want to see the world and do something good.

Sammy says her role models are the family and friends she spends every day around. ‘‘I’ve learnt more from them than anybody else.’’


Achievements:  Wakatipu High School deputy head pupil (2023); Pounamu Award merit endorsement NCEA level 3 (2023); Ad Alta Award (2021, 22, 23); 3rd U20 women’s 800m, New Zealand club championships (2023); 1st U19 girls 800m, 5th 1500m, South Island
schools championships (2023); co-captain mixed 1st XI hockey team (2022, 23); captain Central Otago U18 women’s hockey (2023); Pounamu Award excellence endorsement NCEA level 1 and  2 (2022); Ad Alta award blue (2021, 2022); 1st NZSS cross-country, Otago
Southland relay team (2022); blues awards athletics, hockey, outstanding leadership in hockey (2022), WHS award for excellence in senior French (2021, 2022); distinction, biology, physics, commendation in English, level 3 chemistry (2022); NCEA level 3 endorsed with 
merit (2022); Central Otago U18 women’s hockey (2022); 1st 800m junior girls, NZSS athletic championships (2021); achievement blue, athletics, cross country, hockey (2021); Altrusa International of Queenstown Diane Hood Memorial Prize (2121); Pioneer Energy Scholarship for Excellence in Science (2021), NCEA level 1 and 2 endorsed with excellence (2021). 
Role models: Friends and family.
Hopes for the future: To become a doctor working in the developing world.


Marley King Smith


AT just 17 years old, Marley King Smith was selected for the New Zealand U19 Men’s 4X Rowing Crew and competed at the World Rowing Championship, in Paris, last month.

During the 2023 rowing season, Marley won the open men’s (adult) single scull title at both the Otago and Canterbury Championship regattas — something never achieved before by a schoolboy rower.

He also won bronze in the senior men’s single scull at the New Zealand National Adult Rowing Championships before winning the U18 single and U18 double sculls at the Maadi Cup and a bronze in the U18 quad.

Marley was awarded Central Otago Junior Sportsman of the Year, while also being deputy head boy of Wakatipu High School.

He has also managed an impressive academic and cultural record, including NCEA excellence endorsement at levels 1 and 2, leading the school haka and being the school’s top year 12 academic male and top Maori pupil for 2022.

Marley has been approached by several top United States rowing colleges and hopes to gain a full scholarship to study and row abroad.

He likes to spend his limited free time hanging out with mates and his family, riding bikes and ski touring in winter.

‘‘I probably haven’t done as much of this stuff recently as I’d like to,’’ Marley said.

‘‘But going biking and getting out in the mountains with my family is where it’s at for me.’’

Achievements: 2023: deputy head boy; 2023 Pounamu Award excellence endorsement NCEA level 2; bronze senior men’s single scull at the NZ rowing champs; four golds at the South Island secondary schools rowing champs; Maadi Cup 2023 National School Championships; 1st U18 singles; 1st U18 doubles; 3rd U18 quad; NZ U19 men’s quad crew for world U19 champs; Central Otago junior sportsman of the year; Matatū Haka Waiata leader. 2022: Deputy head of house; captain of South Island U18; NCEA Level 2 endorsed with excellence; Pounamu Award excellence endorsement NCEA level 1; 4th U17 coxed quad sculls, bronze U17 double sculls gold U16 coxed quad sculls at Maadi Cup; gold U17 coxed quad sculls, gold U17 double sculls, gold U17 single sculls at Maadi Cup and SISS rowing champs; silver U18 coxed quad sculls at NZ Rowing Champs; excellence award, bronze; distinction in NZ Economics Competition; senior sportsman of the year; most valuable player for rowing; excellence award, silver; Silna Trophy for best all-round effort male Māori student; outstanding blue for rowing; distinction in economics, English and Maori and commendation in mathematics with calculus and  physics.

Role model: Kill Bill movie character Beatrix Kiddo.
Hopes for the future: To gain a full US college scholarship to row and study abroad.