Students pushed beyond comfort zones
The year seven and eight students at Aka Aka school have been pushed out of their comfort zones, and are currently thriving from the experience.
The students have been enrolled in the William Pike Challenge Award (WPCA), a youth development programme that is designed to help create leadership skills.
One component of the challenge is to complete five outdoor activities, and earlier this year, the Aka Aka students participated in a Water Safe Activity day.
They learnt about survival techniques to use in the water, safe practices when boating, ways to safely assist or rescue other people who are in trouble in the water, and had fun learning stand up paddle boarding. 
Last week, the students participated in the ITM Junior Tough Guy and Gal Challenge in Ngaruawahia. This was a 3km extreme off road running event which incorporated a range of obstacles like commando crawling under barbed wire, climbing over a pallet stack, sliding down a hill, trudging across a mud run, and climbing up a very muddy bank. It was reported that the students loved every minute of it.   
"Other aspects of the WPCA included each student completing 20 hours of community service. At this stage we have completed about half of our community service hours serving our school community in a range of ways," says Principal, Michaelene Nu'i.
"We have student tutors who listen to younger students reading every day, we have stripped and painted chairs for kids to sit on while waiting for the bus. We have two students who would like to spend some time with elderly residents of Waiuku and we will be looking for a project in term four to contribute to the wider Waiuku community. So if anyone has something that needs doing, please let us know."
The third component involves students self managing a passion project by spending 20 hours of their own time developing a skill or hobby they have not tried before.  They currently have a range of projects underway from body building, to goal kicking and surfing.
"It has been wonderful to watch some students shift from being reluctant to participate in outdoor activities to begging for the next one."
Above: Sandy Muir, Nathan Ripia, Tyronne Kitcher and Liam Clatworthy enjoyed the Water Safe Activity day.