by Judy Maw

Meet the Prefects

Holly Bissett - Academic Prefect

Before coming to St Hilda’s, I attended a small rural primary school down in South Otago. Coming to a much bigger school where I wasn’t allowed to run around barefoot, and instead had to wear a uniform, follow a timetable and move classrooms was a huge shock to the system for 12-year-old me. However, after struggling through a few years of homesick nights and many stressful weeks, I found myself loving my new friends, this school and the tight-knit community I am now a part of.

St Hilda’s has offered me many opportunities over the last 5 years, and I’m so grateful for being given these options. I’ve been able to try various sports, from tennis, football, and water polo, to triathlon, basketball, and a single, injury-filled season playing rugby sevens. I’ve also had many academic extension opportunities, including a marine-science camp, a computer science camp in Sydney, cultural exchange to Chile, Hands-On Otago, and becoming part of the Junior New York Academy of Sciences. Though many of these highlights have been outside of school, the support and encouragement from the people at St Hilda’s were what pushed me to apply, and provided support as I stepped out of my comfort zone. A solo trip to Sydney, countless camps within NZ, and a 6 week trip to Chile were not things I imagined myself doing when I came to St Hilda’s, but the valuable life skills I have learnt over my time here, such as teamwork, perseverance, grit, and leadership, have enabled me to extend myself.

I feel privileged to have been selected as a prefect this year, and given a role that allows me to give back to the community that has been such a key part of my life. So far I’ve spent time getting the peer tutoring system running, and sorting the competitions list on the academic prefect website, so it is much easier for the girls to use and find opportunities to get involved in, no matter what their interests are. Currently, I am working on some new ideas, and I’m hoping to be able to introduce the girls to easier ways to access resources and some academic challenges later on in the year. I want to continue encouraging girls to extend themselves and get involved in opportunities other than the general curriculum and NCEA.

While it’s been a wild ride, the things I have learnt over the years, and am learning in this role, have set me up pretty well for options for next year, which has made the question “What are you doing after year 13?” very difficult to answer. The wide range of subjects I love and could see myself continuing to enjoy have meant I’ve spent the last few years responding with the good old “I have no idea”, but I think I’ve finally made a choice! I currently plan to study first-year health sciences at Otago, probably with the aim of going into medicine after that.