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Class Act
Photo by Janine Hills

Class Act Awards

Kristan Mouat and John Lewis —

Congratulations to Alice Houston-Page and Cameron Monteath who are our 2019 Class Act recipients. Both students and their parents enjoyed meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in September where they were presented with their awards.

Class Act recognises the outstanding achievements of 2 young people from each secondary school. Both students have been offered University of Otago "Leaders of Tomorrow" scholarships for next year. 

See the Otago Daily Times report by John Lewis on both below: 

Alice Houston-Page loves the stage.

“I think it’d be great to have a career that involves performing for people.”

For some people, the stage is a frightening place, but for the 17-year-old Logan Park High School head girl, it's just like home.

She started acting when she was 6 years old at the Playhouse Theatre in Dunedin.

``I still remember my first play. I was a fairy in Sleeping Beauty and I only had two lines, but for me, it was a big deal.''

More recently, she has gone on to hold major roles in the school's winning performances at the regional Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival and regional Theatresports competitions and Stage Challenge.

Alice also uses her acting skills to help test medical students, by participating in the Outstanding Performers Simulated Patient Development Unit.

The unit uses actors in role plays for clinical examinations.

Her acting skill has seen her co-direct a school Shakespeare festival entry and sit on the judging panel for the drama component of the Dunedin Fringe Festival in 2017 and 2018.

As well as acting, Alice loves to perform on stage as a bass guitarist, where she has played in ensembles that have won awards at the 2019 Robbie Rocks competition, the Dunedin Youth Jazz Festival where she won the outstanding bassist award (2019), the Otago Chamber Music contest and the Marlborough4Fun jazz band competition.

Not surprisingly, Alice is also a prizewinning speech maker, and most recently won the 2019 Rotary Four-Way Speech Competition South Island district finals.

``Acting and giving speeches kind of go together. It's like performing for people.”

Off stage, Alice is a great leader and a promising diplomat _ skills that she plans to develop at the University of Otago next year.

She plans to study French, English, drama and politics, in the hope of forging a career in foreign affairs or diplomacy.

Achievements: Head girl (2019); house leader (2019); drama prefect (2019); Theatresports Club co-leader (2019); NCEA level 1 and 2 with excellence; premier awards in French and history (2018); honours awards in biology, drama and English (2018); 1st South Island district finals Rotary Four-Way Speech Competition (2019); 1st ODT junior writing competition poetry section and short story section (2016); Dunedin Youth Jazz Festival outstanding bassist award, best big band award, best combo award (2019); Otago Chamber Music district finals highly commended and KBB music award (2018); Marlborough4Fun jazz competition silver award (2017); Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival regional winner and national finalist (2019), student director (2017); Otago Regional Theatresports competition winner and national finalist (2018); Robbie Rocks youth section winner (2019); Big Sing choir trophy winner (2018), commended award (2019); Stage Challenge regional winner (2017); kapa haka member; choir, chamber music, jazz band, drama, public speaking and theatresports Blues (2018); Playhouse Theatre actor (2007-2019).

Role model: My theatre family at the Playhouse.

Hopes for the future:To study French, English, drama and politics at the University of Otago.

Cameron Monteath (18) says the secret to success is imitating the masters.``Imitation may be the best form of flattery, but it's also one of the best ways to learn to do something.

``That's how I learnt a lot of things in music.''
The Logan Park High School music prefect says he first started playing piano in primary school after seeing one of his teachers playing.
``I started out by copying her. I'd see where the keys were and remember which ones to press.''
After she noticed him tinkling the ivories during school breaks, he was encouraged to take lessons.
Since then, he says music has taken over his life.
So much so, he has won numerous piano performance prizes, achieved grade 8 piano, a St Cecilia Associate Diploma with honours in theory and a Royal School of Music distinction in grade 8 theory.
He also is assistant the principal viola for the Dunedin Youth Orchestra and the New Zealand Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra.
While he loves piano and viola, his real passion lies in composition.
He says his first composition was a piano piece, written when he was 9.
``I remember it because I wrote it down _ very badly. It was only about 16 bars long. It wasn't very good.''
From his humble beginnings, Cameron has gone on to win many composition awards, including the New Zealand Chamber Music senior highly commended composition award, and has had many of his works performed by local ensembles.
He is already studying 100-level composition at the University of Otago this year, and plans to continue composition as part of a music degree next year, as well as a French degree.
Once finished at Otago, he plans to continue his composition studies overseas, but if ultimately music as a career doesn't work out, he hopes to use his French degree for potential work in translation or foreign affairs. 

Achievements: Music prefect (2019); NCEA level 1 with excellence (2017); NCEA level 2 music and French with excellence endorsements (2017); NCEA level 2 with excellence (2018); NCEA level 3 music, French, chemistry and English with excellence endorsements (2018); NZQA
Scholarship music and English (2018); studying 100-level composition at Otago University (2019); St Cecilia Associate Diploma with honours in theory (2018); ABRSM distinction in grades 6, 7, and 8 theory (2016-2018); NZMEB Grade A in grades 6, 7, and 8 piano (2015-17); deputy house leader (2019); SMMC recorder ensemble leader (2015-2019), Junior Symphonia leader (2019); Dunedin Symphony Orchestra Academy lead viola (2016-17); Dunedin Youth Orchestra assistant principal viola (2017-19); New Zealand Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra assistant principal viola (2019); Chamber Music Otago district final winner (2017, 2019), highly commended (2016, 2018), adjudicator's award (2016), KBB award (2019), best performance of a NZ work (2016-19), best performance of an original composition (2016, 2018, 2019); South Island Chamber Music Competition bronze award (2017-19); Institute of Registered Music Teachers senior composition award (2016).

Role model: Mozart.

Hopes for the future: To study music and French at the University of Otago.