Giving Back… Today I Returned to High School!


Some of you may not know, but I grew up in Northland.  Born in the Hokianga, I did my early schooling in Rawene, then moved to Kaikohe and attended Northland College.  I then completed my degree at NorthTec in Whangarei before heading off to the big smoke of Auckland.

Today I had the absolute privilege of returning to my old high school – Northland College.  Decile 1, it’s a regional school with its (well documented in the media) challenges.  However, the staff there are fantastic.  Some of my old teachers are still there and it was great to catch up with them all – these are some of the people who have helped shape me and my career.  To my teachers – thank you.

Today I spoke to 300 odd students at morning assembly and then I did a workshop about careers, job seeking and education after high school with the Year 13 students afterwards.  I really enjoyed it, and hope the students got some insight out of it too.


At the end of my presentation I wanted to leave the students with three big things to remember.  I wanted to share with my blog readers too.  They are:

1. Respect.  

Respect your leaders and your teachers.  They are there to grow and support you. And you never know when you might need a reference for your first job either! Respect your peers.  Life after high school in a small community means you never know who might be your boss in future.  New Zealand is actually really small and very well networked!  Treat others as you want to be treated. And finally, respect yourself.

2. Want something?  You have to work for it!

Good things don’t come to those who wait; they come to those that work their ass off to get it.  You have to be proactive – knock doors, do work experience, get life skills and take opportunities given to you and run with them.

3. If you think you can’t – you’re right.

People will expect you to fail, or give up.  You need to back yourself and chase what you want.  Believe you are good enough, believe you can do it and you more than likely will!

While these 3 principles were for school leavers, they are also three very important principles for any part of our working lives.  Take note, and grow your career!


2 thoughts on “Giving Back… Today I Returned to High School!

  1. Kia ora Rachel, I’ve been reading your blog for a few months and I think I’ve even retweeted some of your tweets.

    I had no idea you were from Rawene. What a small world. I remember you and your family well.

    I was in the same class as Alice Joiner, Hemi Wylie and Co so a few years above you. In fact I just recently connected with Mr. Raz on FB. Really weird to chat to him

    This post is very inspirational. Norcol and Northland need more role models like you and hope that some of your advice got through to the students

    I’ve shared this post as far and as wide as I can, #motivational

  2. Kia ora Rachel, I wrote a previous comment but don’t think WP saved it!

    Anyway I just wanted to say that I remember you in Rawene, I was in Alice Joiner and Hemi Wylies class so a few years above you.

    Really enjoyed this post and you can imagine my surprise when I read the first few lines. You’re an inspiration and I hope some of those kids listened to your advice

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