Heather Wright

I came to Hagley because I wasn’t enjoying the structure of learning at my old school. I’m very arty and I wanted to do multiple art subjects. When I asked questions about my learning options at my old school, they were like no, you can’t do that, but here they were like, sure. Why not? Here, I asked, can I get this standard examined at level 3, or can I try doing this instead of what everyone else is doing, and they said, yeah. Give it a go.

It’s been a really good move. I’ve done so many things I couldn’t do at my old school. Last year in year 12, I did a mix of level 2 and level 3 subjects and standards and ended up getting a level 3 excellence endorsement. I did level 3 Painting and level 3 Dance, which meant this year I could have an easier year.

Hagley isn’t just flexible with timetables and course structures though, but also with how they are taught. I’m doing year 13 sculpture and I never thought I’d enjoy it, but it’s awesome. It’s not just traditional sculpture; I’ve done crochet and worked with wood and wire. In painting last year, when I asked the teacher what I had to do, she said: “just paint. Just paint your folio”. I could paint what I wanted.

I can’t believe it’s only been two years – it feels like way longer and I’ve done so much and changed so much. Before Covid, I was a competitive Irish dancer, but now I’m focusing on opportunities in Drama. I take a course called English with Drama, which is really good, and I’ve done lots of interschool competitions. I did the Sheila Winn Shakespeare Festival and we just performed at Theatre Fest and got into the regionals. I’m also a member of the Court Theatre Youth Company.

Next year, I’m applying for Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School. I’m putting in applications for both the acting and design course. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll do Theatre Studies and Sociology at Otago.