By AMANDA BOWES
Cheviot Area school farewelled a very special student at the end of last year – Yvonne Mitchell.
Yvonne has excelled at the school both academically and in sports.
Her achievements are particularly special as she has done so as an independent youth, with the support of the Cheviot community, the school and the family she boards with, with little parental support for the past five years.
Head girl last year, Yvonne is pursuing a degree in science at Otago this year and both locals and pupils will miss the unassuming student.
She won the MainPower award for Mathematics and Physics and was also awarded the Cheviot Lions Club Scholarship which provides financial support for students going on to tertiary education. Her academic achievements meant she was made Dux of the school.
Yvonne was awarded with a Student Excellence Award at the NZ Area School’s Conference 2016.
She is a keen sportswoman and was recognised as the 2016 Sportswoman of the Year.
Playing netball in the Cheviot Senior A team, Yvonne was the Hurunui senior representative in netball and the New Zealand Area Schools netball as well as basketball.
She was selected to play for the Ohoka Premier 1 grade netball team to play in the North Canterbury competition.
Not only did Yvonne play, but put time into coaching younger players and umpiring.
Despite having no formal training, Yvonne proved her ability in athletics, cross country and swimming, having made champion in her grade for the past three years.
After her announcement as Dux, the Cheviot School’s Kapa Haka group performed their Haka in recognition of her outstanding achievements – a first ever at the school.
Yvonne was the Board of Trustees student trustee for two and a half years, only giving up her position to concentrate on her premier grade netball.
Since the age of 14, she has worked at a local cafe to help fund her interests and was going to be working during the summer holidays to save for Otago. The November earthquakes have put paid to that so she will be heading to Dunedin earlier than planned.
The Cheviot community and her friends, teachers and other students will miss Yvonne, but feel her name will become one that is known throughout New Zealand.