Class Act 2019: Maniototo Area School

Lucy Neilson and Amanda Voice are the 2019 Class Act recipient for Maniototo Area School.

Lucy Neilson
Lucy Neilson
Lucy Neilson

Maniototo Area School's Lucy Neilson has been a force in the community through sport, drama and as a member of Ranfurly's St John contingent.

She is part of the latest wave of curling talent from the Maniototo as a member of the New Zealand under-21 women's team, and was selected for the squad in 2018.

Earlier this year, the team travelled to Finland for the World Junior B Championships where it placed 12th.

A significant highlight for Lucy was leading the Maniototo Area School's girls' team at last year's New Zealand Secondary Schools Championships where the team finished fourth.

''We did really well.

''We didn't win, but that was a big step up for me, having to lead the team.''

She led the team at this year's national schools' tournament last month.

Although the year 12 pupil has just turned 17, she has been involved with St John for the best part of a decade. Last year she earned the St John Grand Prior's Award and now serves as a mentor to youngsters in the youth programmes.

A school house leader, her ''persistence'' and ''determination'' have been key ingredients during her recent accomplishments.

''If I want something that bad, I will work hard to get it if I really want it.''

Giving back to the local community could be linked to the selfless qualities of her grandmother who often travelled from Mataura to support Lucy and her siblings when they were in action on the curling rink.

''My biggest role model is my nana. She is always doing things for other people and never thinks about herself.''

Her older brothers, Matthew and Simon, are also New Zealand curling representatives.

Lucy is one of a handful of Maniototo Area School pupils who are rehearsing for a local community production of Treasure Island which opens next month.

She has also had several leading roles in school productions over the years.

Lucy has worked at the Maniototo Cafe for about a year.

Although she is exploring all her options beyond her final school year in 2020, she revels in the hospitality environment.

''I can see myself going into hospitality in the future.

''I have really enjoyed working there [Maniototo Cafe].''

Achievements: House leader (2019); NZ women’s under-21 curling team (2019); World Junior B Championships competitor (2019); NCEA level 1 with excellence (2018); Maniototo Area School girls’ curling team skip (2018-19); St John Grand Prior’s Award (2018).

Role model: My nana.

Hopes for the future: To work in the hospitality industry.

Amanda Voice
Amanda Voice
Amanda Voice

In recent times, Amanda Voice has been waving the flag proudly for the Maniototo, while on horseback.

The 16-year-old Maniototo Area School pupil has emerged as one of the region's biggest talents in western performance horse riding, where she is a regular at international event selection camps. She has picked up several national titles.

A competitive, self-driven nature and hard work have enabled her to accomplish her goals despite not coming from a horse-riding background.

''No-one in my family has done it before,'' she said.

''It has been quite tough - but it actually has bettered me.''

Amanda has a packed schedule.

She trains daily alongside her two horses at home and is often away at training clinics and events through the AQHA NZ Quarter Horse Youth Development squad.

''All of those training events are in the North Island,'' she said.

At school, she is the board of trustees student representative and head of the school council.

Amanda is also a member of the Central Otago Youth Council.

Her mum and stepfather, Rose and Nigel Voice, remain her biggest role models because they have encouraged good values and a work ethic.

In 2017, she represented New Zealand at the Australian Quarter Horse Association's Trans Tasman Challenge in Queensland, where she won two golds, a silver and a bronze.

Last year, she travelled to Texas to represent New Zealand in the American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup.

Amanda is working towards selection for Team New Zealand's Youth World Cup to be held in Germany and the Netherlands.

She has been able to pass on her skills and knowledge through riding lessons ''once or twice'' a month.

She achieved NCEA level 1 with excellence in 2018.

She has been involved in the Outward Bound programme.

Beyond her final year at Maniototo, a position as an officer in the army was a potential path because it is about ''good discipline and leadership''.

One of Amanda's biggest highlights has been delivering the karanga summon during an Outward Bound event which she said ''provided a huge amount of pride''.

''All the kids were behind me. It was a big moment.''

Achievements: Board of trustees student rep (2019); school council head (2019); NCEA level 1 with excellence (2018); Outward Bound scholarship (2018-19);  national titles in Western Performance (2015-18); Hi Point Senior Youth title (2017-18); Hi Point Horse National Quarter Horse Show, Trophy buckle from American Quarter Horse Association, Texas for winning International Rider (2018).

Role models: My parents.

Hopes for the future: To become an officer in the New Zealand Army.

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