To the Class of 2026

Kaipara College's 2022 Peer Support Leaders

One Year 9 Social Studies lesson in particular, I remember. We were creating dream boards – a visual representation of our goals and wishes for our future. We wrote and collaged about NCEA, career pathways, and travel until our teacher asked us, “What year will you finish high school?” Cue the finger counting and puzzled expressions until someone proclaims, “2022? But that’s so far away!”
Now, four years later, we’re heading into our final year at Kaipara College. The days of muddling our way through a foreign timetable and carrying half of our life’s belongings in our backpacks are behind us. Instead, we are stepping into our roles as mentors and leaders of the school.
Every year, our Year 13s get the opportunity to become Peer Support Leaders - a group of students who help the Year 9s transition into their new life at Kaipara College through a two day orientation course at the beginning of the school year and further mentoring throughout Term 1.
A training camp at Higham’s Beach is held for these students involving lots of swimming, team-building, (mask-wearing), and learning how to be effective mentors and friends for the Year 9s. One of our activities at camp was to share what we wished we had known going into Year 9, and I was taken back to that Social Studies classroom and to a time when we thought we knew everything.
So to the Class of 2026, welcome to Kaipara College. Here’s a small collection of wisdom that we wish we had known:
Be confident. Take risks and opportunities because you won’t remember the hours you spend alone in your bedroom on your phone. The days are long, but the years are short and soon enough, you’ll be facing finishing high school yourself. Find your passion, whatever that may be, and let it guide you through the next five years. Don’t expect that you will be the same person in two months, a year, or even in five years - people grow and change and that’s okay. Just as you will not be the same person throughout high school, neither will your peers. You may not walk into high school with the same friends that you leave with. Surround yourself with those who make you happiest and walk away from those who don’t.
Year 9 is not as scary or hard as they make it out to be, but high school does get harder so enjoy this stage of your life. Your schoolwork is an important foundation, but it is not the only thing you will do in your life that will matter, so find a healthy balance between your work and doing the things that you love. Grades don’t have as much weight as you may believe. High school can be tough at times, but the result will be a tight-knit group of friends with whom you’ve gone through everything.
These next five years will be some of the best and worst of your life and, somehow, you will figure out how this can be simultaneous.

Comments are closed.