A sweet day for pupils

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Prize winners: Aparima College's Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) teacher Lynne Grove with Sweeten Up Your Day company directors Sarayha MacDonald (left, 17), Kaleb Lamb (17) and Tyla Lonneker (16).

THE lofty goal to raise awareness and reduce bullying won Aparima College’s Sweeten Up Your Day company top honours at the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) Southland awards prize-giving last week.

Sweeten Up Your Day was awarded the Young Enterprise of the Year, with Mount Aspiring College’s Make Time placing second and It’s Just Me from Southland Girls’ High School third.

“It is overwhelming. It still hasn’t sunk in. I am very proud of my group,” Sweeten Up Your Day director Sarayha MacDonald said after winning the award.

“It has been a lot of hard work but we finally got there.”

The company’s mission was to reduce bullying at the Riverton school by running a series of activities including rewarding random acts of kindness, producing a banner for people to pledge their support for the anti-bullying message, providing tools to help combat bullying and selling ribbons to raise awareness with all proceeds donated to the Mental Health Foundation, she said.

Their key message: “Putting someone down won’t help you reach the top.” The group was also awarded a national BullyingfreeNZ award.

Aparima College YES teacher Lynne Grove said incidences of bullying, particularly in Years 7 and 8, at the school had dropped by more than 50% as a result of the company’s efforts.

About 138 pupils from James Hargest College, Aparima College, Mt Aspiring College and Southland Boys’ and Girls’ high schools took part in the YES business programme this year. Throughout the year, the pupils set up a business, developed a product or service, prepared a business plan, got their idea to the marketplace and made real profit or loss.

Sweeten Up Your Day company directors received a trophy, scholarships to study at Massey and Otago universities and funding to represent Southland-Lakes District at the national awards in Wellington on December 6.

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