WBHS offering new scholarships

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Three new scholarships worth $3000 each are being offered to incoming Waitaki Boys’ High School pupils.
Rector Clive Rennie said the scholarships would be awarded to boys who would become year 9 pupils in 2017. They were being bestowed in memory of the late Trevor Meikle, a past pupil and retired farmer who worked as a volunteer to reinstate the school’s Fraser Farm.
Preference would be given to boys who would board in the school hostel.
All year 9s tried out subject options including agriculture, so they could make informed choices further into their schooling, Mr Rennie said. He was confident many would go on to study agriculture, describing Fraser Farm as “a real point of difference for us”.
He understood Waitaki Boys’ was the only school in the South Island with its own farm, and one of only four in New Zealand.
Waitaki Boys’ was expanding its focus on primary production, taking advantage of the 16ha next to its north Oamaru campus.
“We’re looking to improve the options available across academic, technical and basic farm skills,” Mr Rennie said. “We’re looking to make sure we’re offering good pathways.”He was impressed with the results achieved by the Fraser Farm committee, a group of farmers and agriculture industry leaders who have overseen installation of a stock-handling facility, woolshed, fixed-grid irrigation system, and fencing, and planted pasture and crops.
Whereas Fraser Farm had become overgrown and largely disused before Mr Meikle’s initiative, it was now a commercial sheep operation.
A small team of retired farmers was helping agriculture pupils with hands-on lessons such as weighing and drenching livestock, feed budgeting, and filling out animal health declaration forms.
“The farm committee has made a great job,” Mr Rennie said.
Fraser Farm committee member David Ruddenklau said the school was fortunate to have access to an array of top-performing farmers to help with primary production education.
Mr Rennie agreed, saying it was testament to the “strength of the old boys’ feeling in the community”.
Fraser Farm committee member Murray Isbister said the project had been so successful because of the backing from a small district, and colleague Ray Fox added that not many school scholarships were generated from within such a community.
The scholarships would be advertised from the middle of this school term, Mr Rennie said. Anyone who wished to apply before then was welcome to do so, enclosing a CV.
Applications would be assessed by a panel including Fraser Farm committee representatives and a decision made on the inaugural recipients.
“At this stage, they are one-offs,” Mr Rennie said.
The William J. Hogg Upper Waitaki Scholarship, which alternated with Waitaki Girls’ High School, was also going to Waitaki Boys’ in 2017. Worth $2500 a year, it was established by the late businessman, who captained the school’s rugby First XV in 1952.
That took the total to four scholarships for next year, Mr Rennie said.