Didn’t wag school? …come aboard

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Waimea College students and staff got the ride of their life when they were treated to a sightseeing trip in a helicopter on Saturday.

Students that achieved 100 per cent attendance records as part of the school’s junior graduation scheme were drawn out of a pool for a chance to ride in a chopper, a reward generously donated by local Richmond helicopter owner and operator Craig Boote.

Craig annually provides the free rides as a reward to the students and a goodwill gesture to the school which is his next door neighbour. He says he frequently uses the school field to take off and land his helicopter and six years ago Craig decided to give back to the school. “I just see it as a nice thing to do for the students that have worked hard. I was never all that smart at school and I struggled a fair bit, but I always gave 100 per cent and that’s what it’s all about.

“You can only try the best you can in life and that’s all anybody expects, so it’s just a great way to reward the students that are working hard to be the best they can be.”

School Principal Larry Ching says the treat was a fantastic reward for the students who achieved 100 per cent attendance, and says the gesture shown by Craig was extremely appreciated. “Every year he takes a group of students and staff out and it is an awesome experience for them. Some of the students aren’t academic but to achieve 100 per cent attendance shows they have been here doing their darndest to do their best.”

Student Alex Birchfield, 15, of Richmond says he was really excited to be given the chance to ride in the seven seater Eurocopter EC130. “It was so awesome to be up there. It’s something I’ve never done before so I’m really grateful for the opportunity.”

The students flew above Richmond, Brightwater and the port.