Story & Photo by Kirsty Saxon
This week fourteen new Computers in Homes graduates gathered in Paihia for their graduation ceremony. The students have just completed their twenty hours of free computer training at Paihia School under the fantastic guidance of Vicki Penfold. Deputy Mayor, Tania McInnes, Green MP, David Clendon, along with supportive tamariki, whanau and friends attended the ceremony to celebrate the graduates hard work. The Computers in Homes National Coordinator, Di Daniels also flew in specially to the Far North to attend the latest graduation.
National Coordinator, Di Daniels, was originally a tutor for Computers in Homes, before progressing to the national role. Di says, “I’m incredibly proud of you as graduates, for taking this step for your tamariki. Thank you for showing your children how important it is to learn.”
Course graduates enjoyed a celebration of their achievement, Natasha Turner was one of them, Natasha explained how she wanted to attend the classes to share her learning with her children. Natasha was excited about learning things which would help her children with their learning at school. Another classmate, Ngawai Hill, shared her story of how she was looking forward to learning more, “I wanted to up my computer skills to keep up with my children.”
Each graduate received a refurbished desktop computer, new speakers, mouse and a keyboard to get them started on their online journey. They are also entitled to a 1 years subsidised Naked Broadband connection and 1 years free technical support. Families say the Computers in Homes programme helps to build valuable computer and online skills, help family members find work and give adults new confidence in learning.
Paihia School Principal, Jane Lindsay, congratulated the students on demonstrating that just because school has finished for some, it didn’t mean you stop learning. “I’m living the dream because I’ve got parents and whanau in our school. It’s not just the children who are learners, but also our parents who are learning.” David Clendon agrees, “This is a great programme because it brings parents into schools, and lets our kids see their parents as learners too.”
Each student now receives 12 months of ongoing technical support from capable technician Brett Hunter. They have also been offered ongoing computer training through the Stepping UP programme. This is a free programme available to anyone, and lets students choose the areas that they wish to learn about. It is run at Kaitaia Library and Kerikeri Proctor Library.
Emma Tracey, says “We are currently running courses at Te Kura Taumata Panguru, Te Kura o Hata Maria, Paihia School and Te Ahu Centre Kaitaia with 100 families all together. We are planning to do another group at Kerikeri Primary School in Term 4. After that we are awaiting further funding from the Ministry of Education when the budget is announced in May next year.”