Waitaki Girls’ High School student service group Astra celebrated its 30th birthday last month.

Astra is a junior version of Altrusa, and the Waitaki Girls’ group is one of only two in New Zealand.

Over the past 30 years, members have completed many and varied community projects from collecting for various groups, fundraising, running discos for primary school students, and baking biscuits and delivering them to senior citizens.

Most recently, the group has been assembling basic toiletry items for adults and children who unexpectedly find themselves in hospital, and collecting games and activities to amuse older siblings visiting the maternity ward.

The group’s 30th birthday was celebrated with a small party at Waitaki Girls’. It was attended by current Astra members, and three very special guests — Wally Macaulay, who was the Altrusa president in September 1991 when the group launched; Jeanette Aker, who was principal at Waitaki Girls’ in 1991 and current principal Elizabeth Koni, who cut the cake with Mrs Aker.

Mrs Macaulay lit five candles to represent the club’s five values — ability, service, training, responsibility and achievement — and Bethany Paisley, the Astra student chairwoman, presented Mrs Macaulay with flowers and thanked her for her service.