A very warm welcome was given by the pupils, staff and parents of the Tapawera Area School to the 22 Rotary members and 3 Rotary Youth Exchange students. Pre dinner drinks were served by three students who experimented on their making of Mocktails. Quite delicious were the Orange Twist, Tapawera Cream, Tapawera Sunrise and Summer Punch.
Slaving away in the kitchen was the one 11 year student Ben, donning a white coat and cap. Ben prepared roast chicken thighs, rolled ham, potato and egg salad and lettuce salad etc and, for dessert, yummy fresh fruit and chocolate brownie. A real credit to Ben and his helpers.
Next came the speech contest as the 4 students hurriedly went though their notes and made sure that all was in order for their topic, “The Art of Persuasion”. The judges Mike and Di were ready with pen and paper to do their marking.
First up was Finn. Cats, Gareth Morgan wants to kill all cats. Finn was very persuasive in convincing his audience that cats do a lot of good. Not only are they good company, they also control many pests that would destroy the nests of our native birds. Finn gave some very good tips on how to look after your cat .
Next was Jasmine, on “Horses”.
Jasmine obviously has a love for horses and she rides herself. The right horse for the right person can really work well together, the horse being very perceptive to a person’s needs, in particular, disabled children and autistic children. The calmness of horse can often calm the child which helps their autism. Jasmine gave a clear and enthusiastic speech.
Natasha opened her speech on “Donating Organs” by asking the audience to close their eyes, asking how much one could see. Next we were asked to put our hands over our ears, only to be able to lip read what Natasha was telling us. Some good research had gone into the topic, Natasha having experience of a relative passing away due to complications while waiting for an organ transplant. Any person holding a driver’s licence can state that they are a donor. Natasha had a real compassion and was persuasive with her topic on the donating of organs.
Kayly addressed the question “Why should Tasman Council should extend the tracks at the Tapawera Skate Park”. Kayly explained that the council wanted to first see that the residents would respect their park by cleaning up the rubbish and generally looking after the environment before considering this request. Kayly had noticed that there was only one rubbish tin, no matter how many people were using the park. There could be separate containers for the different types of rubbish.
The audience wondered how the judges could pick a winner and certainly Mike and Di rated all the contestants highly. However there can only be one winner and this went to Natasha. The 3 remaining contestants were all marked as second equal.
Tracey, a teacher from Tapawera, thanked everybody and went on to say that this is the 11th year that the contest has taken place. She is looking forward in 5 years to have her youngest family member go through the rigours of getting up to speak in front of an audience.
The Rotary exchange students enjoyed this experience, learning how an “Area School” works. The school staff would like to see more external interaction with the students. Hopefully another school visit can be arranged for later in the year.