Class Act: Waitaki Girls' High School

Tilly King
Tilly King
Tilly King

Tilly King is a young woman making waves.

The Waitaki Girls’ High School head girl has been one of the district’s leading voices advocating for action on climate change — and just as climate change is not stopping, nor is Tilly.

She plans to continue her advocacy efforts beyond her secondary school years, and would like to work for the Department of Conservation in the future.

"I want to make a difference and do something that I’ll feel good about doing," she said.

While Tilly has not yet decided what university she will go to, tossing up between Victoria and Canterbury, she knows exactly what she will study — environmental science.

Tilly has been involved in her school’s enviro club since 2017, and has led the group for the past two years. She is one of Waitaki’s School Strike 4 Climate representatives, a member of the Waitaki District Youth Council, and was also selected to attend the national Blake Inspire forum this year.

"Enviro club opened my eyes to the environmental challenges, and then the Blake Inspire course reinforced my passion, and highlighted, also, the different roles within the enviro-science field," she said.

She was passionate about inspiring other people to discover and follow their passions and empowering young people to use their voice, and was thrilled to see support for the school’s enviro club grow during her time at school.

She put her name forward for head girl in 2021 as a way to give back to the school.

"I just wanted to continue the positive direction of the school and make sure everyone has equal opportunities at school to do what they want to do — and that there’s equal representation."

As well as her work in the environmental space, Tilly enjoys studying art design at school, and creative projects in her own time.

At home in Herbert, she enjoys going for walks in Herbert Forest with her dogs.

Achievements: Head girl (2021); NCEA levels 1 and 2 with excellence endorsement; academic excellence award for highest GPA (2019-20), member of student council (2020-21); co-chairwoman of social committee (2021); peer support leader (2021); enviro club leader (2020-21); enviro club representative on cultural council (2020-21); member of Waitaki District Youth Council (2021); member of Amnesty (2021); Forest & Bird Waitaki high school representative (2020-21); School Strike 4 Climate organiser and representative for Waitaki (2020-21); Blake Inspire delegate (2021).

Role model: My parents. They have all the values that I really admire, and who they are as people and the way they treat other people, and their respect for our planet and everyone on it.

Hopes for the future: I would like to work for the Department of Conservation.

Lily Rawson
Lily Rawson
Lily Rawson

LilyRawson describes herself as "a bit of an all-rounder".

The 18-year-old Waitaki Girls’ High School pupil has always enjoyed being active, and reckons she has probably given "every sport you can think of" a go.

Most recently, her focus has been on netball, athletics and multisport.

But over summer, a lot of her time was spent on the water — rowing. She was a member of the Oamaru Rowing Club women’s intermediate coxed eight crew that won gold at this year’s national championships.

"Rowing is such a hard sport, but the reward you get from winning is pretty cool," Lily said.

Because sport has been such a big part of her life, she has always wanted to incorporate it into her future career.

Next year, she plans to study exercise and sport science, and psychology, at the University of Otago, with the aim of becoming a sport psychologist.

"I really enjoy PE and I also think mental health is becoming such a big thing and is probably going to be super relevant in the future," she said.

Sport was as much mental as it was physical, she said.

"Sport can be so good for us, but it also has this other side to it."

Lily is deputy head girl at Waitaki Girls’ and said she had enjoyed stepping up into the leadership role this year, working with teachers and pupils, and giving back to the school.

She also chairs the school’s student council.

"We’re just constantly thinking of

ideas of how to improve the school and improve students’ wellbeing and stuff

like that," she said.

Lily is also interested in the arts, and helping others build their confidence through speech and drama. At present, she is working towards her teaching diploma through Speech New Zealand.

"When I was younger I was a wee bit shy, not very confident, and then I started speech [lessons] with Robyn Keno — and my confidence grew," she said.

"I love to see kids grow like that."

Achievements: Deputy head girl (2021); NCEA levels 1 and 2 with excellence; member of student council (2018, 2020); student council chair (2021); member of Senior B netball team (2019-21); cross-country champion (2017-21); athletics champion (2018-19, 2020-21); sports award for service to multisport; most improved year 10 netball player (2018); peer support leader (2021); member of Waitaki combined social committee (2020-21); multisport representative on Sports Council; speech and drama grade 6-8 honours plus; senior triathlon team champions (2019-20); WGHS Aoraki athletics team (2017-19, 2021); WGHS South Island athletics team (2021); WGHS Aoraki cross-country team (2017-19, 2021); bronze intermediate women’s coxed four and club women’s coxed eight in South Island Club Championships (2021); gold intermediate women’s coxed eight National Rowing Championships (2021); WGHS Rowing Contribution Cup (2020); Oamaru Rowing Club Best Crew Cup (2021).

Role model: My parents. They have been very inspirational.

Hopes for the future: To become a sports psychologist.

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