Karamu High School Student Leaders Join the Word

Principal student Jack Arcus at the head of the table with other Karamu High School Grade 13 student leaders discussing the importance of the year’s wero. Photo / Provided

For the past three years, student leaders at Karamu High School have issued the school a wero, or challenge, which is posted outside 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.

Since the start of their high school career, the group of 22 students has pursued academic, sporting and cultural activities, becoming strongly involved in school life.

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 our 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 extra-curricular academic, musical and sporting activities, which led to him representing 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.

The entire Grade 13 student leadership team was an example to younger students of what challenging your limits, instead of limiting your challenges, could help you accomplish.

Cultural leader Edwin Hunt, who was a first-generation New Zealander of Samoan descent, moved from Wellington to Karamu High School in Year 11 and immediately immersed himself in school life.

Edwin started a Pasifika group last year to foster students’ ability to connect with their culture.

For House Manager Hayley Austin, her pursuit of excellence in her chosen sport and commitment to extracurricular activities was inspired by a school-led initiative to “do your best.”

“I’m humbled and grateful for the opportunities we have, and so I want to do my best in whatever I can do,” Hayley said.

Academic leader Gabriel Barlow echoed Hayley’s sentiment. He has been involved in speech and theater and has a high academic standard.

Community leader Daniel O’Connell was the student representative on the board and represented the district on the Hastings Youth Council.

Karamu Principal Dionne Thomas said these students represented the school with integrity and pride, were well-rounded and contributed to their community in many ways.

Martha K. Merrill