Focus, hard work pays off

Rosemary Taggart is named Dux of Mount Hutt College for 2019 at the school’s senior prize giving on Tuesday night.

Focusing in class has stood Rosemary Taggart in good stead at Mount Hutt College this year.

The 18-year-old was named Dux at the school’s senior prize giving on Tuesday night.

“Studying and working hard in class, so I don’t have to go home and do it,” Rosemary said of the strategy behind her success.

Setting goals and not having a break until she had achieved them while on campus had meant she could keep her homework commitment to an enviable five hours per week.

It gave her more time for her passions of horse riding and netball, while ensuring she obtained excellence in internals for all of her subjects – calculus, statistics, biology, chemistry and agriculture.

Rosemary has grown up on her parents’ Methven farm, and plans to do a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Lincoln University next year. She said she liked the academic side of agriculture, and wanted to work in the industry, perhaps as a farm consultant or seed representative.

Meanwhile, fellow Year 13 student Davina Johnston said she was overwhelmed and shocked to be named Proxime Accessit at the prize giving.

The 18-year-old said in her previous years at the college she had received excellences and merits in some subjects, but never one of the major awards. The goal she had set herself for this year was to get the trophy and academic prize for food, nutrition and health.

“I saw someone get it last year and thought ‘That’s what I want’,” she said.

So to be able to tick off that award, amongst others, as well as be named runner up to the Dux had been fantastic, she said.

“I never would have seen myself getting this,” Davina said of the Proxime Accessit award.

Davina’s passion is nutrition, and she plans to major in the topic through a Bachelor of Science at Ara, ultimately becoming a secondary school teacher.

“I love that you can feed your body from the inside out, and what you put into your body you can get out as well,” Davina said.

Meanwhile, Rugby young gun Nicole Purdom had words of wisdom for Mount Hutt College’s departing senior students at their prize giving.

Mid Canterbury Rugby’s first women’s and schools’ rugby development officer is a former student of the school, and was guest speaker at the event on Tuesday night.

Purdom urged pupils to look at the large range of tertiary courses on offer, from apprenticeships to academic study and everything in between, before making up their mind.

Purdom herself began physical education teacher studies at the University of Canterbury after leaving school, but 18 months in yearned for something more “hands-on”.

“I was so bored,” she said.

So she transferred to a sport coaching degree, which led to her being the first woman intern with the Canterbury Rugby Football Union.

“You do you, and you succeed in what you do, I wish someone told me that when I was at school,” Purdom told students in the audience.

Purdom’s study opened up pathways, associated with a rugby career that has taken her to the heights of the sport here and overseas. It has also led into her achieving her dream of being able to develop girls’ and women’s rugby.

Purdom was joined by fellow speakers head boy Mitchell Barron, head girl Caitlin Smith, board chairman Richard Fitzgerald and principal Jack Saxon in giving inspirational addresses to the departing students.

It was Saxon’s first principal’s address to the school community since taking up the role this term.

Saxon paid tribute to the school’s “heroes”, while applauding the excellence in all fields on display throughout the evening, including international and national sporting success.

“Heroes are not born they are made, it takes a village to raise a child,” he said.

He acknowledged departing staff for 2019 including his predecessor John Schreurs and teacher Kate Wood who had given 25 years of service.

– by Susan Sandys