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Falling in love with school again - Hagley College, Christchurch
Ezra Taulamana is a girl with a lot of love. She loves performance, dance, singing, drawing, painting, and art. She also has a lot of love for her family, and her church. But last year what she didn't love was school.
The Year 13 student had relocated with her family to Christchurch. She didn't settle and dropped out before completing NCEA Level 3.
"The subjects were different. I wasn't inspired and I just disengaged. I decided school wasn't for me."
Ezra's parents run a painting and labouring business and with "a tonne of earthquake repair work to be done" it was a case of all hands on deck. Ezra started doing the admin and is now the business' health and safety manager.
But Ezra doesn't want to work in her parents' painting business forever. On attending a 'Get a taste of Hagley - Do what you love in 2015' open night, she had an inspiring conversation with Gavin Hewitt, Head Teacher for one of the College's newest schools - the School of Animation and Digital Design.
"I was thinking I'd like to do something with dance or music and I ended up having this awesome conversation with Gavin. At the School of Animation and Digital Design I found I could incorporate all my passions."
Gavin explains students can focus on subjects they are interested in. Due to the collaboration within the College, signing up for the Animation and Digital Design course means Ezra also works with students in the Hagley Dance Company, Hagley Theatre Company, the School of Fashion and the Writers' Institute.
"In the past we had only offered animation as a subject. This year we've taken in a step further and have turned it into a full-time course. There has been plenty of demand. The 20 spaces filled up within a couple of weeks," says Gavin.
Students on the Hagley School of Animation and Digital Design course work towards NCEA Level 3, and University Entrance. As well as the required numeracy and literacy components, the course covers 3D modeling, creature design, story boarding, animation, digital painting and illustration, character design, mechanical design, graphic design, type and image sequencing, compositing, camera skills, studio lighting and photographic compositing.
It fits in the creative section of Vocational Pathways and there is a clear pathway and links to further study at Auckland's Media Design School, Massey Univeristy, CPIT Christchurch and AUT, Auckland.
"We have a proud history of past students achieving national and international success as artists in the film and gaming industries. It's great to be able to talk to students about where they could end up," says Gavin
"We have people like Sir Richard Taylor from Weta talk to students about opportunities in the film industry but we can also tell them about former students like James Ellis and Tom Robinson who have both had art featured in Into the Pixel a collection of video game art debuted at E3. (The Electronic Entertainment Expo is an annual international trade fair for the video games industry.) "Hearing from people successful in industry is very inspiring for our students."
Consequently Ezra is loving school again and can see a clear path to an exciting future. Following her parents' lead as outreach workers she'll be applying for an internship with ARISE church in 2016.
"ARISE is very embracing of new ideas and with the skills I'm learning at the School of Animation and Digital Design I'll be able to do productions and video. I feel very excited about what I'm doing and what I'll be able to put out into the world," she says.