Watch: Class Act 2019 recipients

The best and brightest from secondary schools from across the South were presented with their Class Act 2019 certificates by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this afternoon.

The Otago Daily Times Class Act initiative identifies and celebrates the excellence of young people in our province.

The youth of the region have a big responsibility, for the future is in their hands. It is from this talented and ambitious group our future leaders in arts, business, education and sports will emerge.

The Otago Daily Times Class Act programme began in 2000, with 26 of the 29 high schools in the newspaper's primary circulation area each selecting one or two outstanding pupils to join that year's class.

In this, its 20th year, 29 schools are participating. Between them, they have nominated 57 pupils as representative of the cream of Otago's secondary school elite in 2019.

Class Act has been a particularly rewarding journey for the Otago Daily Times. We are also delighted the programme has been acknowledged by the University of Otago.

Barry Stewart.
Barry Stewart.

This year's award recipients will receive an automatic entitlement to a University of Otago scholarship for 2020.

We take pride in seeing and reading, through the columns of this newspaper, of the milestones and achievements of our Class Act recipients as they make their way into adult life.

This afternoon, at a special awards ceremony in the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, the pupils will come together as a class and, individually, be presented with Class Act 2019 certificates by the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.

We are proud the present Prime Minister has continued the tradition and agreed to be our guest speaker at the calling together of these outstanding pupils. The Prime Minister's presence is an honour for Otago and testament to the excellence of these young people.

The students were nominated by their schools on the basis of their achievements and potential for success in adult life.

The only criterion the newspaper gives the schools is excellence. It could be academic, sporting, social, artistic, cultural or leadership potential excellence, or a combination of any. Years 9 to 13 pupils are eligible.

The Otago Daily Times is adamant that New Zealand needs winners as much as it needs team players - young people who strive, who set goals, who persevere, who achieve, who are proud to want to come first. Class Act seeks to identify these young people of great potential; they are our leaders of tomorrow.

The 57 pupils nominated for awards have been photographed and profiled on the following pages of this celebratory publication. We trust you enjoy reading it and, like us, are inspired and encouraged by the young people featured.

-By Barry Stewart, Editor of the Otago Daily Times


Prog Harlene Hayne, Vice-Chancellor, University of Otago

Harlene Hayne
Harlene Hayne
It gives me great pleasure to congratulate 2019's Class Act recipients, and offer each of them a University of Otago Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship in recognition of their success.

Class Act recognises the success of our region's senior secondary school students across academic, cultural and sporting pursuits. While there is amazing diversity in the range of endeavours Class Act recognises, there is also commonality in the key elements - dedication, determination, leadership and good citizenship - that lead to a Class Act award.

At the University of Otago, we, too, celebrate diversity of success as well as the common elements that underpin it. Connected to this is our long tradition of purposefully providing a rich range of opportunities for personal as well as academic growth.

Employers often tell us that personal maturity is one of the defining characteristics of an Otago graduate. More importantly, international research shows that those graduates who have taken the chance to develop in the broadest sense at university are the most likely to go on and enjoy wholly satisfying lives.

Class Act recipients have already demonstrated that capacity for broad development in their school years, and this provides them with a great foundation to build on.

There are dozens of previous Class Act recipients studying at Otago this year, and those of you who follow in their footsteps in 2020 and beyond will doubtless seize the opportunities Otago provides for further development, and enjoy a rewarding world-class university experience that sets up for exciting and hugely fulfilling futures.

Those who choose other paths will, I am sure, also take the chance to make a major contribution to the intellectual, cultural, spiritual, and economic well-being of their families, their communities, and their country.

With these thoughts in mind I again offer my warmest congratulations to all of today's recipients. This award is both recognition of what you have achieved so far, and a signal that you are on track for continued success.


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