Imogen Keeling by Isla Huffadine

Meet the Prefects

Imogen Keeling - Academic Prefect

Before St Hilda’s, I attended Duntroon Primary School and was a day girl at St Kevin’s College. Growing up in a rural community, it wasn’t unusual to go to boarding school. My oldest sister boarded from year 8 to year 13, so I always assumed that I’d be heading to Dunedin for high school. Due to opportunities with sport in Oamaru at the time, I went to school there for year 9 and 10. After deciding I needed a change of scenery, we looked to Dunedin. I heard nothing but good reviews with St Hilda’s, so I was ecstatic when I heard that I’d been accepted!

While at school, my favourite subjects have been Digital Technology and Maths. Thanks to St Hilda’s excellent curriculum that constantly challenges the girls, I am taking a University maths paper this year which has increased my confidence so much!

One thing that surprised me at St Hilda’s was the impressive number of clubs and committees you could join. While being here, I have been a part of the Sticks’n Stones Anti-Bullying Club, Code Club, Crafty Critters, Formal Committee, Korero Club, and Kapa Haka. I have loved all of them, especially Kapa Haka, which gives me a break from all of the numbers and letters, but I still learn so much.

For the past two and half years, I have done nothing but try out as many activities that Dunedin has to offer. I have been involved in swimming, rugby, volleyball, badminton, and rowing for sport, and this year I’m giving aerobics a go. One thing that I have learned from moving to a big city is to say yes! There are so many opportunities offered to us, and if we don’t try, we may be missing out on something that we would have otherwise loved. And I can say with complete honesty that it is terrifying saying yes to any new activity, but it will surprise you.

Something else that Dunedin has encouraged me to follow is my passion for baking. In year 11, I joined the Dunedin Chapter of New Zealand’s ‘Good Bitches Baking’ and was officially NZ’s youngest Good Bitch! GBB is a baking charity where we each bake approximately once a month for places in need, such as Women’s Refuge and NICU. Doing volunteer work like this has allowed me to stand up a little bit taller every time I’m reminded that I am helping people in need and my work is appreciated.

As soon as I joined the Tolcarne family, I was swamped with love from the girls and the matrons. Since I arrived in year 11, it was difficult to find my way as most of the girls had already been at Tolcarne for two years. The positive, high-trust culture at Tolcarne is one like no other. You are always respected and supported in your choices, as long as you are honest and treat others the way you want to be treated. You can form unique connections with the younger girls, as you are in the same situation with being away from home, and you learn to find comfort knowing that fact. Also, I have been able to join the Tolcarne kitchen staff to work as a kitchen assistant as a part-time job. Opportunities like these are one of the cool things about Tolcarne, as it shows their true meaning of ‘support’ in that they want to help you in all areas of your life.

The chance to become a prefect is a life-changing experience. Yes, you work extremely hard, but to see that everything you do makes a difference to the students at St Hilda’s is heartwarming. Even after a term, I feel so much closer to the whole St Hilda’s community and the fantastic prefect team. As part of my role, I have decided to start a podcast where I interview women with interesting careers. I want to give the girls the message that “You can create a job out of anything”, and St Hilda’s encourages us every day to believe that.

What do I think I’ll be doing next year? At the moment, my main option will be to study Engineering at the University of Canterbury, which will then hopefully lead to Software Engineering. This is my main prospect at the moment as when I was younger, I wanted to be a builder. And since my favourite subjects are Digital Technology and Maths, I believe that Engineering would be a perfect combination of the three interests.

I am so excited for what this year has to offer, and I can’t wait to make more memories with my incredible year 13 cohort.