Sophie Dawson Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Ruanui

I’ve been at Hagley since year nine – full ride! I came here looking for opportunities and that’s what I found. I love how extensive the range of courses is and how well suited it is to what I want to do and where I want to go.
There are lots of music and performance opportunities to be had, like choir, kapa haka and music camp. An example of one of these experiences was getting to go on a wānanga in Blenheim called ‘Hine Te Waiora’. I was so glad to go; it was a completely original experience – absolutely amazing.

Being at Hagley helps you develop better social skills; because it’s a community college you learn to communicate with everyone as equals. We have students of all ages and from all over the world. You’re able to form lots of connections – it’s a big community, but everyone knows someone, so it’s almost like a second family. Everyone is just so welcoming here – I love it.

Hagley sounds so different from what I hear about from friends at other schools – we have so many more opportunities and more freedom. Here they offer a place to belong and be accepted – you’re just part of a big community in a comfortable environment. You can wear what you want – it feels more chilled, safer and easier to learn in an environment like that. The teachers are so open and always offer a helping hand. They’re always there for our needs – they’re understanding of students and student well-being.

Hagley for me is such a friendly and open community with so many opportunities. No matter who you are, or what you’re looking for, you’ll find something that suits you here at Hagley.