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But the drive to Christchurch, or further afield, got a boost from the Ashburton Trust and Lion Foundation, who donated $89,000 to the college – some of which was used to buy a new 12-seater minivan.
The grey people-mover, already emblazoned with the school’s logo, is now one of five modern minivans used to move students all over the South Island.
College chief executive Charlie Kelland said the school was grateful for the foundation funds, which were put to good use. The foundation had given $170,000 over the three previous year.
The campus boss invited Ashburton Trust members Chantelle Quinn and Roger Paterson to see how they had spent the money they had been given.
“You guys have put a lot into the place and we wanted to say thank you.”
The college fleet of minivans are well-used and sometimes in short supply as students travel to Christchurch and further afield to play sport and attend cultural and academic events.
It was a geographic fact that the school, with 1200 students, needed to travel to be part of the wider South Island secondary school networks.
Roger and Chantelle were shown the Holyoake auditorium, opened in October 1985, where money had also been spent on a sound desk.
Chantelle, a Blue House leader when she attended the college from 1995-99, said she well remembered musical and drama productions and other events in the auditorium. The seats in the 300-capacity facility were reupholstered in the past few years with Lion foundation money too.
She also remember the baby grand piano bought back then with donations from the community,
In a Year 11 English class taught by Sarah Lassen, students were discussing exam questions on a big TV screen, one of a few bought with foundation money. The overhead projectors in some classes are ageing and glare from windows does not always make for a great presentation. More and larger screens would be bought, and they were used across the curriculum from social studies to dance.