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Nov 09, 2015

Star Teacher - Lynne Grove

It is great to see teachers around the country being recognised for the hard work they put into their students, school and community. Lynne Grove, Head of English at Aparima College, has spearheaded the introduction of Business Studies into her school.

Lynne Grove

When a student told her she was moving to another school so she could study a particular subject, it got Riverton teacher Lynne Grove thinking.

Increasing opportunities for rural kids has long been a driving force for Grove, who is the English head teacher at Aparima College.

in this case it was business enterprise the student wanted to study. Thinking to herself, why can't we offer that here, Grove set about making it happen.

Enter the school's business studies. Since then the school has consistently punched above its weight, producing several award-winning Young Enterprise teams, all under the leadership of Grove.

Helping her students realise their potential is a major motivation for Grove. But she has also worked hard to help the youth of Riverton access opportunities they didn't previously have.

She introduced the Duke of Edinburgh programme to the town after wanting to find something that would give the kids a better range of skills and something great to put on their CVs when they left school.

In the six years the scheme has been running at the school, more than 60 kids have taken part, four of those going right through to gold award, the highest level, 

"It's taken kids outside their comfort zone which is fantastic.

"I just see them develop and they're becoming really awesome people," she said.

She was also responsible for bringing trampolining and gymnastics back to Riverton.

That involvement stemmed from her daughter, who was taking gymnastics lessons in Invercargill. With several younger children in tow, it had been difficult making the trek to lessons so she started thinking about how to run a club in Riverton instead.

Once the gym club was up and running, Grove was approached and asked if she wanted to run trampolining in the town. So she took that on too.

The programme was a success, with about 40 people joining and Aparima College agreeing to store the trampolines.

One of her other "babies" are the school's productions. The size of the school makes it difficult to use existing productions so every year Grove writes her own, tailored around the students involved.

Producing a skeleton script, she hands her words over to the students who then adapt it.

Her productions are usually local spins on well-known stories and generally have a Riverton flavour.

And they are true community events - parents and other supporters help build and paint sets, and make costumes, and all sound and lighting is done in-house.

It's been a busy 19 years.

But the busy-ness has been well worth it, she said.

"What I have really loved is seeing what happens to those students, seeing how they use all these experiences to pay it forward."

(written by Cassandra Pokoney, originally published on Stuff.co.nz)