Woodford house

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National Young Leaders Day 2017

We hopped on the bus at 6am all bundled up from the cold. Excitement lingered in the air as we breathed steam out of our mouths. Today was the day that eight of us from the Intermediate Department were going to National Young Leaders Day (NYLD) in Palmerston North.


When we arrived and jumped out of the bus outside of the Palmerston North Arena, we gladly stretched our legs. We walked briskly into the arena, and as soon as we stepped inside loud music blared into our ears and people in big fluffy animal onesies came and hugged us. We looked at each other and started giggling, this was going to be fun!

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The music eventually died down and the NYLD 2017 motto came up on the screen, “I am a seed, born of greatness.” I was a bit confused at first about what it was trying to say but the MC soon explained it. It meant that you are full of potential, and just like a seed, with the right soil and good people supporting you, you can do extraordinary things.

The first speaker then came up, Aaron Jackson, and he personally had my favourite message. At school, he was bullied and people were telling him that he was someone other than who he was and he started to believe it. So, his message was, don’t let people label you and try to make you someone else. I found his speech very interesting and motivating.

Boing! A massive inflatable ball came bounding in my direction. It soared over my head and I just managed to touch it and help push it along. It was break time and we were playing a game. The crowd had been split into two big teams and the team that could get their ball to the top of the grandstand and then back to the stage would win. There was screaming and cheering all around with hands flailing in the air. Our team got the ball up to the top of the grandstand first and, once again, it came powering back down in my direction. More cheering erupted from our side as the inflatable ball powered onto the stage, we had won!

Following the break there were more inspiring speakers, for example Alistair Davis CEO of Toyota, Zane Scarborough an acknowledged and amazing poet, Trina Tamati CEO of the NRL Auckland Nines and Matt Brown one of the world’s best hair artists. While Matt was speaking he even brought someone up from the crowd and shaved an awesome and very intricate silver fern in their hair. It was so cool.

More music started up as NYLD came to an end. I looked around and smiled to my friends and thought back to the amazing and motivating speeches I had just heard. I had learnt so much and had enjoyed every moment of it. Now time for another bus ride I sighed, but I couldn’t complain, NYLD had been such an amazing, character building experience.

Martine Sandberg, Year 8