A blog post from Nicole Skews-Poole, Community Programme Liaison at InternetNZ
26 November 2015
One of the best parts of my job is being part of awarding money to members of the NZ Internet community. As well as the grants process, the Community Development Programme also helps fund awards and events about improving access to, or use of, the Internet in New Zealand.
Earlier in the year, we received a sponsorship application from four school principals from South Taranaki. Together they represented the MOA Kluster - a collaboration of local schools who’ve set their sights on becoming STEM schools by 2017.
Last year their cluster of schools held their first Digital Awards ceremony to celebrate innovation from students and teachers getting hands-on with things like blogging, video editing and animation. For their second year, the MOA Kluster wanted to showcase their work with proper lighting and larger screens and make it a ‘local Oscars’ type event.
The InternetNZ Sponsorship Committee considered their application, researched the work they were doing and came to a unanimous decision to support the event. Schools are the hubs of their communities, and four communities collaborating on digital skills and access, and taking a moment to soak up their successes, is a cause we’re proud to get behind.
The Sponsorship Committee was given the honour of judging the wildcard Principal’s Choice Award, which was tricky given how good the entries were, but we got there in the end.
So on Tuesday 10 November, after a long drive and some terrible road food, a colleague and I arrived in Opunake in our glad rags and found the local sports centre. The basketball court had been transformed and to say it was packed to the rafters would be an understatement.
Hundreds of children and their families were there, sitting in areas designated by school and yelling at the top of their lungs any time a nominee hailed from theirs. It was a great mix of good-natured competition and community.
The teachers kicked things off with all four school principals starring in their own screened remake of Star Wars, complete with costumes, special effects and Chewbacca noises about each principal’s fight to take home the Supreme Award.
As each category was announced we got to see teasers of each nominees’ work, with the winner having theirs shown in full. My colleague and I sat in awe of the student’s work, ranging from a claymation adaption of the story of Ruapehu, Taranaki and Tongariro, a music video about docking lambs or mini documentaries.
The Supreme Award went to two students from Aurora School, for their incredible short film Bum Race, which is a feat of stop-motion and humour.
We left feeling like the least cool people in the room, in the best possible way. The Kluster schools aren’t just modernising and innovating, they’re leading the way and that pride that comes with that is tangible in all the students and staff. It’s a privilege to be able to support them.
If you’d like to learn more about the MOA Kluster, their digital awards or about our grants programme, check out liks below.
Photo: This is me giving out the Principal's Choice Award