Interview with Student Trustee, Ta’a Vili
Taa Vili is a Year 11 student at James Cook High School. He has recently been elected by the students as Student Trustee and he is a Youth Member of Parliament. The school caught up with him to ask what has contributed to his success and what his experience at James Cook High School has been like so far.
- What is it like to go to James Cook High School?
The school is a busy and fun place to connect with friends and to get an education. Getting an education will be important to me for the rest of my life.
- How would you like to see the school improve?
I would love to see the school give the Samoan Unit their own space, just like the Puutake Unit. It’s something that I’m working on as Student Trustee.
- What is the best project you’ve ever done for school?
Something I’m working on now is my project for the Board of Trustees. I am creating a student survey asking students about what they’d like to see from James Cook High School. Then I will put this information in a report for the Board of Trustees.
- Why was it the best? What did you like about it?
When running for student trustee, I made the promise to have the students’ voice heard. I feel by preparing this report for the Board of Trustees, I am fulfilling my promise.
- Who is your favourite teacher and why?
Mr. Downing, the drama teacher, because of the subject that he teaches and he has a cool personality.
- How did you become involved in the Manurewa Youth Council?
I got involved in the Manurewa Youth Council via the school at the Year 11 assembly when Miss Coyne when she talked about the opportunity. I applied and got in, and then I learned about the Member of Parliament opportunity.
- What is your best memory at school?
Monday October 15, when I found out that I was elected both as a Member of Parliament and I took my photo with the local member of parliament. When I found out that I was Student Trustee in the same day, that was icing on the cake.
- If you were a teacher, what subject would you teach your students and why?
The subject I would teach would be history. Students now are uneducated about it and if affects our future. My English teacher, Mr. Rewi taught me about history and inspired me to become a history teacher. For example, he showed Malcolm X speeches in his class and explained the history behind the speech, and how passionate the people were to talk about it.
- What inspires you to do what you do?
There are people like Sarah Colcord from Manurewa Youth Council. One day, we will be adults and we want to make the world a better place for the next generation. I’m also inspired by the sacrifices my parents made for me. We moved from Samoa for my education.
- What would you tell a Year 8 student about James Cook High School?
It’s a place where you can both have fun and be challenged – that’s my favourite part about the school. There are opportunities and career pathways offered which are very useful after you leave high school.
- Which classes at school have you learned something that you’ve found practical in your everyday life?
In drama, that’s where I learned skills to perform in front of others and that built up my confidence. It helps me speak in front of adults. English has also helped me state my intentions clearly and with sophistication in my day-to-day life.