Many of our students have gone on to achieve further academic success. Read their stories below.
You too can be a success story.
At 16, Helen Woolner was pregnant and about to ditch school. She came to He Huarahi Tamariki “for the free lunch” and developed a love of learning. “Coming to HHT changed my life. It gave me the confidence and opportunity to finish my schooling and go to university.”
Helen was the face of the Victoria University graduation ceremony in May 2009 in the Dominion Post. Helen completed her BSc in Chemistry and went on to complete her Masters. Her thesis is titled “The Isolation for Secondary Metabolites from Tongan Marine Organisms”. Helen is currently completing her PhD at Victoria University.
HHT is very proud of Helen’s achievements. She was our guest speaker at prize giving in 2012 and urged students to “follow your dreams, grasp every opportunity and take help when it is offered”.
“Since having Kayden my life has completely changed and with it my view on education. Now, because of my son and because of He Huarahi Tamariki, I absolutely love learning. I didn’t want to end up the stereotypical teen parent – staying home doing little with my life.
HHT was for me, an incredible place. It gives a safe and happy learning environment for teenage parents. Attending the school has meant that my future, and the future of my son, looks bright. I know that I can do well if I set my mind to it”.
Petra has completed a BA from Victoria University in History and Classical Studies. She is currently enrolled in the Diploma in Information and Library Studies at the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand as well as working part time as a librarian.
Victoria Scheule credits He Huarahi Tamariki with her decision to become a teacher. Playing truant from school, mixing with the wrong crowd and becoming pregnant at 16 - “Carter changed my life. I knew I had to come back to school”.
Victoria has completed a BA in English Literature and Education from Victoria University. “The first year was tough getting a balance between Uni and looking after Carter.”
Victoria completed her primary teacher training at VUW and is now working as a registered teacher with a class of 28 students. “I simply love it.”
Stephanie O Carroll was keen to get out of school and into the workforce.
Stephanie took part in the Gateway programme which gave her on the job experience as a teller in the banking industry. After her 10 week placement Stephanie was offered a training contract to become a qualified teller.
She has gone on to further success and received promotion and further responsibility in the banking industry.
Clara Curtis graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in 2017 from Victoria University.
This is her story.
"When I first started at HHT I couldn't visualise a future for myself. I had dreams before I got pregnant but they seemed impossible once reality set in.
Going from pregnant at 16 to an "almost-lawyer" wasn't easy. I have finished my degree and am currently completing my professionals which is the last pre-requisite for becoming a practising lawyer. I couldn't have done it without the support I have had from my family and from HHT.
I wasn't always the best student when I attended HHT. It took me time to adjust to being a mother, a teenager, and a student. HHT became a refuge for me in those years. It was a place where my situation was normal and accepted. The camaraderie among the students and the staff was an invaluable resource in both triumph and struggle. HHT stood up for us, celebrated us, and believed in our capacity for success in a society that can be particularly hostile to single teenage mothers. They not only supported and encouraged me in motherhood and academically, they actively looked for opportunities to show me the light at the end of the tunnel and help me succeed. With the love and support I found there, along with the support from my family, I repaired my attitude and outlook on life. I graduated a far better person than when I started and am grateful for the professional support I have had from my mentors.
Navigating motherhood and a degree wasn't easy. There were many ups and downs and there were many times I was tempted to throw in the towel. I am thankful I had people around me who made sure I didn't.
Now, I am proud of my successes as a mother and a student and, while I wouldn't like to repeat them, I am grateful for my failures. They have shown me that failing isn't the end but merely a bump along the way."
Rose Meyer recently gained her Master of Fine Art with First Class Honours (Whitecliffe) and is a lecturer at the school. As a practising artist she won the New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Award in 2017 with her work, 'Journey; from pen to print to paint'
and the Barfoot and Thompson Award of $3,000 for her work 'To: Osborne Lane, 2 Kent Street'
at the 2016 Glaister Ennor Graduate Art Awards.
"My experience at HHT rekindled a love for learning that I had forgotten I had.
Being around people who were passionate about their work and who wanted to share that with others really changed me; I hope to carry that forward to my students, to inspire them as much as the people at HHT inspired me.
Having people believe in you gives you the confidence to push your abilities and make positive changes."
Sarah Smith always had an interest in young people and gained the National Certificate in Youth Work from Whitireia Polytechnic followed by a Bachelor of Social Work in 2014. She went on to become a tutor at Workforce Development Limited teaching Youth Work programmes to adult learners and recently completed her Diploma in Adult Education at Te Waanga.
Sarah spoke on behalf of the graduates at the HHT Prize Giving in 2014 and gave the graduate speech to her students at Workforce in 2016.
Sarah spoke about the challenges of being a parent while studying, working part time and parenting to students at HHT. She urged them to “make the most of the support networks on offer” and use “quiet time” at night to study.