Class Act: Bayfield High School

Eleanor Baldi

Success came unexpectedly to Eleanor Baldi.

The 18-year-old rower and musician started her hobbies purely for fun, but as her confidence grew, she began to be a little less surprised by her accomplishments.

She started rowing in grade 11 and although it was hard to adjust to the early morning starts, she quickly found herself enjoying it.

“It’s hard to stop once you like it.”

In her first season, she had little success, but last year she started to rank higher.

Her confidence was growing, but she was still surprised when she unexpectedly landed second place in the U18 singles at the Aon Maadi Cup.

“It was really, really exciting.”

The more she did, the more confident she became and this year she placed first in the women’s single scull intermediate at the New Zealand Rowing Championships.

She still enjoys spending time outdoors and rowing allows her to both exercise and enjoy the experience of being on the lake alone or with a team.

Her passion for the outdoors is why she is considering a career in geography or environmental management, as it could help maintain the environment she loves.

While the mornings were spent rowing, after school she practiced her music.

She has been playing the clarinet for about seven years and the saxophone for three years.

Instruments offer a different style of enjoyment, but she finds herself more drawn to the saxophone.

She had never planned to take the saxophone, but while she was practicing for the school show, the music teacher announced that they had lost a saxophonist and she offered to take the place.

As she plays for the school band, she has a greater appreciation for the range and style of jazz.

She plays in the school jazz band and small combo band and after performing at the Dunedin Youth Jazz Festival she was shocked to receive an award for most promising tenor saxophonist.

Achievements: NZ Rowing Champs Intermediate single scull 1st (2022); Aon Maadi Cup U18 single sculls 2nd (2022); The Meridian South Island club, U18 single scull champion (2022); New Zealand World Rowing U19 Junior Trial (2022); Otago Rowing Association Rower of the Year Nominee (2022); Outstanding Achievement for Rowing (2022); cultural prefect (2022); Head of House (2022); Geography Summit (2021); Outdoor Education Summit (2021); cultural blue (2021); Baldwin Trophy for Woodwinds co-winner (2020, 2021); most promising tenor saxophone Dunedin Youth Jazz Festival (2021) academic blue (2020, 2021); Mention of excellence level 1, 2.

Model: His parents.

Hopes for the future: To study geography or environmental management.

Josh Stoddart

Whether in sports, culture or around school, Josh Stoddart wants to help others as much as he can.

The 17-year-old is head boy, leader of the kapa haka school group and spends his time coaching juniors in the sport.

He also holds various leadership positions at the school.

He spends time as a peer support leader and spends time helping junior students integrate into school.

This year he got involved in 40 Hours of Famine, a movement he finds inspiring.

He helped organize the event at school and got as many students interested as possible.

“It’s kind of nice to help someone else.”

Last year, he acted as the leader of the school’s breakfast club, where he showed up to school early on some mornings to help provide breakfast for students in need of food.

His passion for helping others began in Grade 11 when he became a basketball coach, a role he thoroughly enjoyed.

He then coached volleyball, the sport he is most passionate about.

He loves the fun nature of the game and the fact that there are a lot of skills to hone and perfect.

He also plays basketball and football and last year he was proud to play volleyball for Otago.

Outside of sports, Josh spends his time leading the senior kapa haka group and mentoring the juniors.

He started kapa haka around the age of 7 and has been participating in it ever since.

He loves how it gives him a chance to express his culture and feel closer to it, as well as an opportunity to perform.

Now, as a kapa haka tutor, he takes pride in helping others learn about kapa haka and makes sure to explain the culture and meaning of the art.

He always wants to better connect with his culture, which is why he learns te reo Maori.

Although not yet fluent, he can hold a conversation and uses his skills to enrich the kapa haka classes he teaches.

“To be able to teach others, I must first understand it myself.”

Achievements: Head Boy (2022); Head of Peer Support (2022); Breakfast Club Chef (2021); chief kapa haka (2021, 2022); tutor of kapa haka (2021, 2022); junior A volleyball coach (2021, 2022); Junior A basketball coach (2020; 2021); Junior B basketball coach (2022); Otago Volleyball Representative (2021); blue volleyball (2021); best senior all-round athlete (2021); academic blue (2020); Mana Pounamu Tuakana Award (2021); Kakaruwai Trophy for te reo Maori (2019); 1st in te reo Maori; Kapa Haka Merit Award (2021); excellence level 1 (2020); merit level 2 (2021).

Model: His parents, for shaping who he is today.

Hopes for the future: To study Physical Education, Activity and Health and Maori Studies at the University of Otago.

About Brandy Perry

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