N Coughlan, the Principal of One Tree Hill College illustrates how deserving Te Awhiahua Hillman is of a First Foundation Scholarship and paints a very poignant picture of her success in the face of one of life's obstacles: 'Te Awhiahua is a truly exceptional young woman. She is one of the finest examples of someone who has risen above one of the most significant of life's changes and daily demonstrates the strongest determination to succeed. Te Awhiahua struggled as a young student in Years 9 and 10 to accept the opportunities that a high school education had to offer her and she often found herself falling short of the expectations of school life.
During this time, Te Awhiahua became a mother. When her daughter was still a young baby, she returned to school to continue her education. She has proven time and time again since her return to school after the birth of her daughter that she is willing to work hard and succeed in her school work and in her personal life. In the last 18months since she returned to school we have seen her go from a shy young woman who was nervous about rejoining the school community, to a young woman who is proud of her culture and of her life journey as it has played out so far. A diligent and conscientious student, she now sets high goals for herself and strives for excellence. She takes learning seriously and responds well to negative feedback and encouragement. Her academic success has been evident in the achievement of NCEA Level 1 endorsed with Merit. I recommend her in the strongest possible terms as a truly worthy recipient or a First Foundation Scholarship.'
Te Awhiahua has won a number of awards for her efforts, namely the Penrose Rotary Endeavour Award, for exemplifying the characteristics of the One Tree Hill College motto Strive for Higher Things. In 2009, she was awarded first in Year 11 Te Reo Maori, received a Silver Badge for Academic Excellence and earned a place on the Spirit of Adventure. However, Te Awhiahua sees the birth of her daughter as her greatest achievement of all: 'I am an extraordinarily proud young mother.
Becoming a mother at a young age has given me a mature outlook on life and the motivation to make something of myself. If this had not happened, none of the things that I have achieved in the past two years would have been possible.' Te Awhiahua is the Student Representative to the Board of Trustees, Captain of the Senior Netball team, plays in the Girls' rugby team, is part of the Kapa Haka group and is a Student Librarian. She is a youth leader at the Kings Mercy Global Church.
Te Awhiahua's future goal is to study either Psychology or Social Work and Te Reo Maori at the University of Auckland.
"Te Awhiahu is an extremely proud young women, who exhibits drive and determination to reach her potential for not only herself but for family and community." - Donna Mara, Training and Development Business Support Manager