On Wednesday afternoon, Westlake Boys hosted the annual Thorburn Cup debate in the staffroom, attracting a good turnout of staff and students. The Thorburn Cup has been hotly contested between Westlake Boys and Westlake Girls since 1970. In this time the girls have claimed the cup 27 times to 19 for the boys.
Our Premier Advanced Debating Team of Liam Rawlings, George Han and Ian Lim took on the girls in what proved to be a highly entertaining debate. The moot was, “Assuming there was a potion that would stop you falling in love until you were 21, this house would take the potion” with the girls affirming this. Many important issues facing young people were raised in relation to this rather unconventional moot ending in another solid win for the boys. Congratulations to both teams on an interesting and insightful afternoon of debating and special thanks to all staff and students who came along to support both teams.
The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) is a programme that provides students with the chance to set up and run their own business for a year to gain valuable business skills for their futures ahead.
The companies receive support from their teacher mentor as well as business mentors from the local community whom they meet with regularly, to provide them with advice and guidance throughout the year. YES is an incredible learning experience that thousands of students participate in each year. The programme at Westlake Boys is an extra-curricular activity that students must apply to be a part of.
Once a year Westlake Boys’ YES students are offered the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a group of local entrepreneurs in what is called the “Dragons’ Den”. This year’s Dragons’ Den took place on Thursday 21st May in the Westlake Boys’ boardroom and, as in the reality TV series, all companies were given five minutes to present their business plan to a panel of ‘Dragons’ after which there ideas and product knowledge would be put to the test in a five minutes Q&A session.
The Dragon Dens’ experience counts towards 30% of their final award and the panel, including Westlake Boys Board Chairman, Westlaker James Sclater (Chartered Accountant with many directorships in the Health Industry), Westlaker Bill Smale QSM (Managing Director of Wireless Nation), Westlakers President Richard Stevens (Managing Director at BrandWorld), Westlakers former President Greig Buckley (Director at Kai NZ Foods Ltd), were impressed with the entrepreneurial spirit and standard of presentation skills.
Almost 50 student from year 11-13 represented 13 companies with products ranging from funky socks, gym gear and merino wool kids clothing to services which included a job search website aimed at teenagers, a website maintenance targeted at small local businesses. Many of our YES companies also have a ‘social’ focus with a portion of their profits going to charities they are passionate about supporting.
Westlake Boys’ wishes to extend a big thank you to the ‘dragons’ who gave up their valuable time to join us for an interesting and enlightening day and to Hilary Robotham, Auckland Young Enterprise Co-ordinator, who was also on the panel. The advice the students received from the Dragons will be invaluable as they take their businesses to market.
If you or somebody you know of could be interested in becoming a YES group mentor, please contact Business Studies Head of Department, Keryn Russell at [email protected] or Community Relations Manager, Vicki Fowler [email protected]
See some of our companies in action at the ‘Dragons Den’ below.
Westlake Boys High School celebrated one of the proudest moments in its 53 year history yesterday when 2014 Proxime Accessit, Josh Hansen, was announced winner of this year’s Prime Minister’s Award for Academic Excellence. This prestigious award, which recognises Josh as the New Zealand’s top 2014 secondary school scholar, was presented by Prime Minister John Key at the NZQA Top Scholar Award ceremony held in the Grand Hall at Parliament Building in Wellington on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister’s Award for Academic Excellence was first introduced in 2011 and recognises the success of the very top scholarship student in the country. The recipient has the most outstanding examination results and the highest overall academic excellence of all Premier Award winners. Josh received six New Zealand Scholarships, including five Outstanding Scholarships and the Top Subject Scholar award for Art History. He also demonstrated himself to be an all-rounder with strong leadership qualities.
Josh managed to achieve extraordinary results – Outstanding Scholarships in Art History, English, Geography, History and Physical Education, a scholarship in Classical Studies, and Top Subject Scholar in Art History. His teachers have commended their former student for his maturity, ethics, hard work, ability, empathy and integrity.
As an all-rounder Josh still found time for extra-curricular activities throughout his years at Westlake Boys. He participated in the Young Enterprise scheme, was a Prefect and school house leader, a member of the Buddy programme and he helped his fellow students as an academic peer tutor. He played both cricket and football and was a strong athlete who competed at many athletic events as well as the New Zealand Cross Country Championships each year. In 2014 Josh represented the school on the New Zealand Young Ambassador tour to France and Belgium for the World War I anniversary commemorations.
Josh is a true example of what can be achieved through hard work and a drive to succeed and he has some advice for all Westlake Boys students who are currently studying hard for their upcoming exams and might be considering scholarship. He mentioned to Fairfax Media online reporter, Amy Jackman, that our boys should have fun and just have a go at the scholarships as it’s a great way to extend themselves and do something different in their last year at Westlake. Click here to watch Josh’s reaction on receiving his award.
Josh, who spent the summer mowing lawns to save money for university, is currently studying towards a conjoint Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in French and History at Victoria University. The monetary reward of $10,000 a year for the next three years that comes with the honour of finishing in the Top Ten Scholars in New Zealand has not deterred him from giving up his lawnmowing job just yet. Students always need a bit of extra pocket money and he intends to spend the awards money on something fun and interesting in future years.
Alongside Josh at yesterday’s ceremony was 2014 Westlake Boys Dux, Chris Hagan, who also finished as one of the top students in the country. Chris achieved four Outstanding Scholarships in English, Art History, History and Physical Education and Scholarships in Media Studies, Geography and Classical Studies and was Top Subject Scholar in Physical Education.
Throughout his time at Westlake Chris was a high level academic achiever. Alongside his studies he found time to represent Westlake in Football, playing in the Football Nationals and participating in the 2014 tour to the United Kingdom and Spain. Chris has been a valued member of a wide range of clubs including SADD, the Young Enterprise Scheme and Westlake’s Imprint magazine editorial team. His considerable leadership qualities saw him appointed as a Prefect and Deputy Head Boy. Chris commenced his University studies earlier this year, studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies) at the University of Sydney. He has since been accepted as one of only three students from Australasia to study at the innovative Minerva University in San Francisco. During his time at Minerva Chris will spend semesters in eight different universities around the world as he works towards a particularly prestigious global commerce qualification.
Westlake Boys High School is immensely proud of the achievements of these two outstanding young men and we look forward to following Josh and Chris as their bright, exciting futures unfold.