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Laura Dunshea suspects having a twin brother, Jack, might have something to do with her competitive, determined nature.
Both are high achievers at sport, Jack captaining the Waitaki Boys’ High School first XV rugby side, and Laura the Waitaki Girls’ High School Wildfire netball team which plays in the top grade of the North Otago competition.
"I just love playing the game — the competitiveness of it. I like to win."
She not only enjoys playing, but is also developing her coaching skills.
"It definitely helps grow my confidence and it’s rewarding watching the juniors grow as players."
Laura was born in Christchurch but after the earthquake, she and her family moved, firstly to Dannevirke and then to Oamaru in 2014, when Laura was in year 7.
She is deputy head girl at the school and chairwoman of the student council.
Her next move will be to the University of Otago where she plans to study for a bachelor of applied science degree which, she hopes, will help her towards an eventual career as a physical education teacher.
Academically, Laura enjoys the challenge of mathematics and has achieved in statistics.
She is of Taranaki Ngati Tama descent and continues to develop her Maori knowledge at Waitaki Girls’.
She was selected for the Te Waipounamu under-19 netball team to take part in the Maori netball nationals in Whangarei at Easter, which was cancelled because of Covid-19.
For the past three years she has had a part-time job at the Short Black Cafe, which she fits in around her sports schedule, including netball, social touch rugby and basketball.
Achievements: Deputy head girl (2020); level 1 and 2 NCEA excellence endorsement; mana pounamu teina recipient (2018); member of student council (2017-18); chairwoman of student council (2020); member of combined Waitaki social committee (2020); member of student health committee (2019-20); member of Mana Wahine (2017-20); peer support leader (2020); netball representative on sports council (2020); member of Waitaki netball committee (2019-20); senior A netball team (2019-20); captain of Saturday netball team (2019-20); mvp of Saturday netball team (2019); most improved senior netball player (2019); sports award for service and performance in netball (2019); Waitaki year 10 netball B team coach (2019); Waitaki year10 netball A team coach (2020); Te Waipounamu South Island under-19 netball team (2020); North Otago netball (2014-17, 2019).
Role models: My parents.
Hopes for the future: Continue playing and coaching netball, seeing where it could take me.
Making the world a better and fairer place is top of the agenda for Waitaki Girls’ High School student Emma Borrie.
Emma was voted head girl by her peers and staff this year and puts that down to being "quite a people person" who enjoys socialising and making connections.
She describes herself as "well-rounded; a jack of all trades and a master of none.
"I like to go out there, take myself out of my comfort zone and try my hand at different things."
Emma lives with her family at Papakaio, which had an "awesome, village-raises-the-children type of feel".
"Community is really important to me," she says.
Emma is deputy leader of the Enviro Club which organises school events including beach cleanups, tree planting and, at present, a waste audit.
The environment was a "critical focus within schools and communities", she said, "because it has a massive effect".
"Even if we can do just a little bit now, we will be making all the difference later on."
Emma is chairwoman of the Youth Council whose main roles are to get the voice of youth heard and to support youth.
That has involved organising events such as movie nights and talent quests.
Emma said the youth council was using the Covid-19 "opportunity" to refocus on what was important.
"Because we are a small tight-knit community, we want to have more opportunities for youth to have their say and also showcase their talents."
She is planning to study for a bachelor of science degree majoring in psychology at either Otago or Canterbury university.
"The criminal justice side really interests me. Our justice system is not completely fair or equitable. I would love to a be part of building a better future where everyone is treated fairly."
Achievements: WGHS head girl (2020); NCEA levels 1 and 2 with excellence, academic excellence in year 9 (2016); senior B netball team (2019-20); junior triathlon team champions (2016-17); chairwoman of Waitaki District Youth Council (2020), member since 2018; co-chairwoman social committee (2020); debating captain (2018-20); interschool debating team (2017-20); deputy Enviro Club leader (2020); peer support leader (2020), member of SADD (2019-20); member of Amnesty (2018-20); member student council (2017-20); member of health committee (2018-20); member of cultural council (2018-20); member of Waitaki Way Consultation Group (2018); NZ speech and drama grade 7 with honours plus; a main character in house dramas (2019); 40 Hour Famine organiser for Papakaio Community Church (2018-19). Papakaio Community Church Kids Ministry 2019-20.
Role model: I like to look at people and see what qualities I admire in them and adapt them to myself. I look to Jesus as a type of role model.
Hopes for the future: Making a difference in the world and exploring what different cultures have to offer.