Class Act: Columba College

Maia Joseph
Maia Joseph
Maia Joseph

Balancing four sports, a national team, coaching, working part-time and school is all in a day’s work for Maia Joseph.

The 18-year-old Columba College pupil says the secret to juggling it all is an inherent drive and determination to succeed.

"I have struggled with balancing everything but being busy sort of forces you to be organised and on top of it all.

"I enjoy school [alongside sport]; if I didn’t, it would be very difficult."

Until this year, she played rugby, touch, basketball and netball, but had to cut down to rugby and touch in order to prioritise her schooling.

In January, she captained the New Zealand under-18 girls touch team in Australia, and she has represented Otago in netball, rugby and touch.

"I have always been sporty, probably because of my parents, who are both quite active."

Maia was awarded two academic blues at school for achieving NCEA level 1 and 2 with excellence.

"I think it’s quite an achievement that I can balance doing well in school with sport."

She is deputy head prefect and co-leader of the student council this year.

Next year, she plans to attend the University of Otago to study health sciences, with the aim of studying medicine.

Achievements: NCEA level 1 and 2 with excellence; academic blues awards; Otago representative in netball, sevens, rugby, touch, New Zealand U18 girls touch team captain; Columba deputy head prefect (2020); student council co-leader (2020); peer tutor; touch coach; award for leadership and contribution to sports (2018-19); stage challenge (2017); kapa haka group (2020);  Te Wai Pounamu Award  (2017); Dunedin A team rep. netball (2017-20); cross-country team; academic blues, levels 1 and 2 NCEA with excellence; deputy head prefect (2020), student council prefect (2020); coach, junior A touch team (2019, 2020);  all-round junior sports woman (2016, 2017); leadership and contribution to sports award (2019); senior A touch team captain (2020); senior A basketball team captain (2018, 2019);  NZ U18 girls touch team captain (2020); senior A rugby 7s and 1st XV rugby team captain (2016- 2020);  junior A netball team captain (2016, 2017); National Touch Championship gold medal (2018); NZ U16 girls touch team (2017); kapa haka group (2020);  year 7 and 8 touch coach (2017); Otago Academy of Sport (2020);  peer tutor (2019, 2020).
Role models: Parents and the older girls in sport who I’ve learnt from.
Hopes for the future: Hopefully, get into medicine, and continue balancing sport with everything else, as I want to keep playing.

Abby Bowmar
Abby Bowmar
Abby Bowmar

When it comes to hard work, Abby Bowmar chooses to lead by example.

The 17-year-old Columba College pupil is head girl, debating captain, board of trustees representative, and that’s just the start of her list of achievements.

"I learned to lead when I started to teach, doing tutoring and debating.

"I don’t think there are any special leadership skills — I think every time someone explains something or offers their help they’re leading, and you just need to care about what you’re doing."

She says her roles this year are "a lot of work", but she is grateful for the opportunities presented.

Abby is a strong debater, having developed the skill of public speaking since she started in 2016.

"I love it because it puts everything in perspective. You’re constantly having to listen to the other side of an argument and it’s usually something you won’t have thought about before."

She is the school’s debating captain, has been a member of the senior debating team since 2018 and has been on the Otago-Southland regional debating team for the past two years.

Her team placed first out of 57 teams in the Aotearoa Online School’s Debating Competition premier division held during lockdown.

She achieved NCEA levels 1 and 2 with excellence, and received a scholarship in English and an outstanding scholarship in history.

Her other passion is the French language.

At the end of year 11, she won the Alliance Francaise national French-speaking competition which included a two-week trip to New Caledonia.

"I really love learning the language."

Abby is looking forward to the national secondary schools debating competition in Wellington later this year.

She plans to study law and politics at the University of Otago next year.

Achievements: Academic blues  (2018, 2019); NCEA level 1 and 2 with excellence (2018, 2019); level 3 French with excellence (2019); NZ scholarship in English (2019); NZ outstanding scholarship in history (2019); head prefect (2020); board of trustees student representative (2019, 2020); arts blues for languages and debating (2018, 2019); top year 12 pupil (2019); year 12 mathematics cup (2019); national winner Alliance Francaise Concours Oral scholarship (2018); debating captain (2020); Aotearoa Online Schools Debating Competition premier champion (2020); Otago-Southland regional debating team (2019, 2020); Otago-Southland debating winning team (2020); Dunedin Schools Debating senior winning team (2019); Dunedin Schools Debating best style award (2019); Dunedin Schools Debating most promising speaker (2018); debating coach (2018-20); Aotearoa Online Schools and Dunedin Schools Debating junior adjudicator (2020); peer tutor (2019-20); Duke of Edinburgh bronze (2018); French exchange (2017-18); European Union essay competition (2019); Hands-On at Otago, politics (2020).
Role models: Mum and dad.
Hopes for the future: Do law and politics at the University of Otago, then work in international relations.

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