Hastings Youth Council: Two Karamu High School students appointed to leadership positions

Karamu High School year 12 students Calais Byrne (left), Lena Ormsby and Esta Chaplin have been selected to represent the district’s youth on the Hastings Youth Council. Photo / Provided

Two students from Karamu High School have been chosen to represent Hastings District youth as chair and deputy co-chair of the Hastings Youth Council.

Year 12 students Lena Ormsby (Ngāpuhi and Tainui) and Esta Chaplin, president and vice co-president respectively, were joined by fellow year 12 student Karamu Calais Byrne (Ngāti Kahungunu), with whom they were part of the youth council Last year.

Ormsby followed in the footsteps of Karamu graduate and 2021 board chairman Keelan Heesterman.

She said it was an honor and a privilege to be able to represent her high school and the youth of the district as president.

“I am very proud of the Youth Council and hope to see us continue to bridge the gap between Hastings District Council and young people and empower them as best we can.

“As President this year, I would like us Councilors to pursue our passions and implement change in the community, while focusing on our contribution to HDC.”

Chaplin relished being able to sit at the council table with two of his very good friends.

The school's student leaders issued the school a wero, or challenge, which is posted at the front of the school as a reminder.  Photo / Provided
The school’s student leaders issued the school a wero, or challenge, which is posted at the front of the school as a reminder. Photo / Provided

“It’s such a good experience. My favorite things are the opportunities that come from the youth council, the people you meet and the things you can get involved in. That’s what makes it special for me. .”

Byrne had applied as a way to meet other like-minded people. But in doing so, she achieved more than she thought possible.

“Being involved has been huge for me, and I’m really proud of everything we’ve done.”

Ormsby said the support they received from their school and teacher helped them succeed.

“Ms. Thomas is really good at supporting us in these opportunities and giving us the resources to be able to go out there and be successful. They make us believe in ourselves and feel proud to have achieved something.

Principal Dionne Thomas said the three students were “outstanding examples” of what it meant to be “proudly Karamu, proudly Hastings and proudly a learner”.

Meanwhile, the school’s student leaders have issued the school a wero, or challenge, which is posted in the front of the school as a daily reminder.

The theme for this year’s school is: Challenge your limits, don’t limit your challenges.

Year 13 student leaders planned to lead the way and fully embody the 2022 wero.

Head student Jack Arcus was inspired by Head Boy Cameron Young’s 2018 speech to target high school leadership positions.

“His speech really stuck with me when I was in 9th grade,” Jack said.

Jack hoped that by showing young students what kind of leaders they could be in the future, they would then be inspired to seize every opportunity and aim high.

During his five years, Jack was involved in many academic, musical and athletic extra-curricular activities, leading him to represent his school, the region and New Zealand in canoe polo.

He also won the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Hillary Prize, which required students to engage in physical activity, learn a new skill and volunteer in the community.