High school kids lead the way

This week high school students will return to their old primary and intermediate schools to dispel some of the myths around what to expect when making the jump to secondary school.

The Duffy Books in Homes School Leader assemblies allow schools to invite two senior high school students to speak about what to expect at high school, what they hope to achieve afterwards and how a love of books and reading can make all the difference to children’s futures.

Duffy Books in Homes regularly sends well-known role models to visit its 532 schools but having speakers closer to their own age helps to show children that the next step in their education doesn’t have to be a daunting one.

Many of these senior students are past pupils of the schools they visit. Some still have brothers and sisters still at their old school and they also enjoy the chance to reconnect with their old teachers.

Each Duffy school is given two books and two certificates to present to the School Leaders after their assembly. This year’s School Leaders will be able to choose from Pounamu Pounamu by Witi Ihimaera and The Silence Beyond Selected Writings by Michael King.

Duffy Books in Homes General Manager, Linda Vagana, is a strong believer in the initiative, “Sometimes high school students are able to reach kids involved in the programme in a different way to the sportspeople and celebrities that usually visit our schools. It’s a great opportunity for our kids to hear and share the aspirations of young people and leaders of their own community,” she said.

Since the official launch in 1995 with 80 schools, 16,000 students and 14 sponsors, the Duffy Books in Homes programme has grown to encompass 532 schools, around 100,000 students and 200 sponsors in 2012. More than eight million books have been distributed to children in low-decile schools since its inception and the programme now distributes more than 600,000 books annually.

Participating Kāpiti Schools include:

  • Ōtaki School

  • St Peter Chanel School

  • Te Kura-a-iwi o Whakatupuranga Rua Mano