Students at Tangimoana School will be over the moon to learn today that their small country school has taken out first place in this year’s Genesis’ Energising Young Minds competition, winning the Manawatu school a $25,000 edu-tech grant.

Principal Timu Niwa says this is huge news for a little community like Tangimoana.

“Receiving this grant will be such a huge morale boost, not just for the school but also for the village which has had various floods over the last 10 years,” said Niwa.

Second and third places also went to small rural schools, with Aka Aka School in Waiuku winning a $15,000 edu-tech grant and Waikino School near Waihi winning a $10,000 grant.

Waikino School celebrating their win! Photo: Joanna Percival-Wheway

The three schools made it to the final five of the School-gen Energising Young Minds competition, thanks to the support of local people who voted in huge numbers for the schools. They then had to impress a panel of judges to make it to the top three and win a share of the $50,000 prize pool.

The competition, which ran from 12 February to 2 April, saw 685 primary, intermediate and secondary schools throughout New Zealand nominated with 250,997 votes from their local community to win the edu-tech prize packs.

Genesis CEO, Marc England, says New Zealand’s progress will be influenced by enabling children to learn STEM skills from an early age and getting them excited about these topics.

“School-gen supports the STEM-based learning that will be central to how industries adapt and flourish. These three schools are fostering this critical and creative thinking early and these grants are aimed at assisting that,” said England.

Aka Aka School Principal, Michaelene Nu’u, says this funding will have a huge impact on what can be offered at the school.

“A grant like this will have such a positive impact on our children and how they feel about themselves and their pride in the school,” said Nu’u.

Joanna Wheway, Waikino School Principal, says receiving this grant is a real tribute to the investment the community has made in their small school.

“From a teaching perspective, it is an opportunity to get some funding that is purely tagged to learning,” said Wheway.

School-gen has made a range of learning resources available to schools up and down the country for the past eleven years and has brought solar energy, energy efficiency and related topics to life for students.

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