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Hidden treasure . . . Waitaki Boys' High School pupil Jacob Cunningham (15) became the first person since 1962 to win the Challenge Cup for best all-round junior athlete. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

The inspiration for a new generation of Waitaki Boys’ High School athletes has been hidden in plain sight.

During the lockdown, deputy rector Roger van Booma kept himself busy by cleaning the school’s reception area and, in the process, unearthed a multitude of old cups and memorabilia.

He uncovered, restored and researched about 20 cups and trophies, some of which dated back as far as 1901, Mr van Booma said.

He was in the process of putting them back on display and offering today’s pupils the opportunity to win them.

“Men and teachers [who] have been there, they have left things behind, mostly on the names of these cups,” he said.

“I would love to be able to parade the boys through that area and and talk to them about the names and achievements of those men.”

Some of the uncovered trophies pupils can now compete for incude the Millennium Challenge plate, for the winner of the annual Waitaki Boys’ and St Kevin’s College A basketball game, and the Don Cup, for the best school house at winter sports.

Last week, Year 11 pupil Jacob Cunningham became the first person to win the Challenge Cup, for being the best all round athlete in the junior school, since 1962.

“It’s pretty cool,” Jacob (15) said of the hefty trophy.

“I like how it was presented on the day, it shows how the school was.”

These days, most Waitaki Boys’ High School cups and trophies were presented to pupils at an end-of-year prizegiving.

Mr van Booma wanted to restore the custom of presenting the trophies to the winners of the events on the day.

Traditionally, the athletics cups were presented to pupils by the head boy’s mother, he said.

“It wouldn’t have to be the head boy’s mother, specifically, but something like that.

“It was always presented on the day, rather than at a prizegiving at the end of the year.

“That is how it should be and that’s what we are trying to get back to.”

If it was not for the lockdown, Mr van Booma said he would not have found the time to find the cups.

“[Normally] I’m so busy I don’t get the chance to do any of this stuff,” he said.

“I feel in my role it’s a pretty hard slog, and you want to be inspired.”