Tessa Sinteur by Isla Huffadine

Meet the Prefects

Tessa Sinteur - Deputy Head Girl

My schooling life has consisted of a fair share of moving around. I grew up in Perth, Western Australia but was faced with my family’s decision to emigrate to Queenstown when I was 9 years old. This move was my first taste of learning to be adaptable to change, whether it be new friendships or a 20-degree change in climate! After several years of skiing, learning and leading at Queenstown Primary School, 13 year old me decided she wanted a change. The decision to come to boarding school was a scary one. With everybody else from my school going on to the local high school, I realised the value of trusting yourself and being okay with doing things differently.

It is a decision that I will never regret and the confidence, growth and friendships I have gained from taking that leap of faith will stay with me forever. St Hilda’s has shaped me into the person I am today.

After the shellshock of living in a room with 2 other girls, going to prep and eating dinner at 5pm had worn off, I began to appreciate what being a boarder for the past 5 years has done for me. Living at Tolcarne has been a highlight of my time at St Hilda’s, not just for the happy and mildly crazy memories, but for the lessons it has taught me about independence, compromise and communication. All attributes that are vital in the adult world. The family culture that is obvious at Tolcarne, meant I was fortunate enough to be supported by senior girls in my junior years and am now able to act as a big sister for the younger girls. The deep-rooted connection boarders have with one another is something I will miss dearly.

This school has taught me the importance of connecting with others, whether it’s your whanau group, teachers, team members or a stranger. The sisterly bond we have within and between year groups is something I am immensely proud of and appreciate. It means experiences and advice are easily shared and each girl has a support network behind her, backing her no matter the outcome. I’ve also had the opportunity to connect with people from a variety of ages and backgrounds through my Duke of Edinburgh service at a local charity shop. I’ve realised the value of hearing another person’s perspective and how a genuine conversation can turn someone’s day around, without you even realising.

The ongoing encouragement I have had from my teachers and peers to be my best and put myself out there have led me to programs such as Hands-On Otago, New York Academy of Sciences, Duke of Edinburgh Award, Outward Bound and being the Student Representative on the Board of Trustees. These opportunities have allowed me to extend my knowledge, meet people from around the world and give back to my community. Not to mention the support we get within the classroom with highly knowledgeable and passionate staff, we are well supported to achieve our goals.

And now in 2021, I am honoured to serve our school as Deputy Head Girl. Thus far, the role has been extremely gratifying as I see the benefit our team’s initiatives have on individuals and the wider school community. I feel privileged to work with the prefect team of 2021 as their dedication, passion and authenticity strengthens the connection between year groups and instils confidence for others to shamelessly be themselves.

I’m still not 100 percent sure what next year looks like for me but wherever my journey takes me, I am assured St Hilda’s has equipped me very well. My interests lie within the business and technology areas, so I am looking at undertaking a Bachelor of Commerce at Victoria University, potentially majoring in Finance and Information Science.

However, before that big adult world hits me, I plan to make the most of every moment spent surrounded by an amazing cohort in my last year of high school.