Students get second chance at education

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

An alternative education centre is giving troubled youth another chance at education. Its students have been affected by all types of social issues, but director Shane Coleman says his students are resilient.

Mr Coleman says, “We have kids who have drug and alcohol issues, we have (Students) with issues violence and anger, young people that have been bullied to an extent that they don't want to go to school anymore.”

Despite those concerning factors, 3 out of 4 students received their levels 1 and 2 NCEA last year.  Coleman believes the Māori aspect of learning plays a big part.

“We use whare tapawhā as a model, even though it's a health model it fits very nicely into education and its actually good for all kids, the majority of our kids are Pākeha,” said Coleman.

One of those students is 15-year-old Eilish McDowell, she says, “at my old school I was always left out of things and being bullied and funnily enough one of the students who are not in today is actually one of my old bullies and now we are the closest friends we could ever be.”

Jordan Cherrington is another student with a tough past, “stealing, vandalism is another one I just didn't hang out with the right crowd,” explained Jordan.

Jordan says it's thanks to Shane Coleman he is on the right track, “without him leading me in this course I don't know where I would be right now. He gave me a second chance to help me get my NCEA level ones.”

“There is something about this course that I like, it's like we are all family here and it’s a warm nice feeling,” said Jordan.