Class Act celebrates the excellence of the youth of our province and now, more than ever, we will look to them for leadership.
It was another demanding year like no other and made us realize the importance and value of education, science and strong leadership. Young people in the region have a great responsibility, because the future is in their hands. It is from this talented and ambitious group that our future leaders will emerge in the fields of politics, the arts, business, education and sport. The Otago Daily Times Class Act program began in 2000, with 26 of 29 high schools in the newspaper’s main circulation area, each selecting one or two outstanding students to join that year’s class.
In this 22nd year, 28 schools are participating. Between them, they have named 56 students as representative of the crème de la crème of Otago high school elite in 2021.
Class Act has been a particularly rewarding journey for the Otago Daily Times. It was introduced to the newspaper in 2000 by former editor Robin Charteris.
We are also delighted that the program has been recognized by the University of Otago. This year’s award recipients will automatically receive a University of Otago Future Leaders Scholarship for 2022.
We are proud to see and read, through the columns of this journal, the milestones and accomplishments of our Class Act recipients as they move into adulthood.
Tomorrow afternoon, at a special awards ceremony, the students should have gathered in class and individually presented with Class Act 2021 certificates by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. However, Alert Level 2 restrictions excluded it.
The Prime Minister has expressed her disappointment at not being able to attend and we are working with her to ensure that the class of 2021 is recognized from above. We are preparing a special video and the Prime Minister and others will honor these leaders of tomorrow.
Students were nominated by their schools on the basis of their accomplishments and potential for success in adulthood. The only criterion that the newspaper gives to schools is excellence.
The 56 students nominated for the awards have been photographed and featured on the following pages of this publication. We hope you enjoy reading it and, like us, are inspired and encouraged by the young people featured. The future is bright.
Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof Helen Nicholson, University of Otago
Young people across the country are choosing Otago for good reasons. They know that our university offers diplomas and postgraduate degrees of the highest level. Otago’s long and continuing tradition of educational excellence speaks for itself and is seen by many as the gateway to a long and successful career.
At Otago, we celebrate excellence and leadership and we continue to provide the best comprehensive training possible for the leaders of tomorrow.
Excellent and inspiring teachers are essential to ensure that we stay at the forefront of New Zealand universities when it comes to teaching. We see sustained excellence in the outstanding accomplishments of the university’s world-class teachers. Last week we achieved a feat unmatched by any other university in New Zealand. Dr Latika Samalia from our Department of Anatomy has won the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award for Excellence in Higher Education, which means our top teachers have won this award for seven of the previous 10 years.
At Otago, our goal is to encourage our students to become successful, social-minded people who will continue to contribute to their communities and to society, here and abroad.
These are exactly the kind of young students who are receiving Class Act awards this year. If the recipients choose to come to the University of Otago, we are delighted to offer them a minimum scholarship of $ 6,000 for the leaders of tomorrow.
Let me be among the first to congratulate the Class Act 2021 recipients and the excellent and exciting future they represent.