By THOMAS HUKAHU
WHY should a group of local high school students walk down a main road of an island town on a weekday with surfboards?
That is the question anyone would have asked when seeing OLSH International School students at Kavieng, New Ireland, walking from their school to the district office jetty 200 metres away on Oct 26 – that is, on a Thursday afternoon.
The answer is,they were going surfing as it is the school’s plan to continue to enrich the lives of students with such extracurricular activities.
Good schools initiate extracurricular activities
It is common knowledge in education that a good secondary school does not only teach a prescribed curriculum as structured by education authorities or the department, they come up with initiatives to enrich the lives of the students with other activities whose outcomes may not necessarily be printed on their certificates.
Everyone who either learned or taught in different schools over a few years would have noticed such peculiar extracurricular activities, be they competitive sports, agricultural initiatives like animal husbandry or crop farming, business, music or theatre. Some of these learning experiences could very well be used by the students in years to come as a foundation to advance themselves as sports representatives, developers of their land, entrepreneurs or performers or artists and make a career out of it.
It is with this view in mind that the administration of OLSH International School had taken on the concept of teaching some of its students to surf. The opportunity to do that presented itself in another of the school’s ongoing programmes in hosting visiting students and teachers from Australia, particularly from Queensland.
A few weeks ago, students from a boys’ school in Queensland visited the school and the surrounding area in Kavieng, including the islands. They brought along surfboards to try the waves here and when they were returning, they left behind the boards to be donated to schools. Five of them were presented to OLSH and these are the boards that the OSLH students are using for their lessons.
Students go from mainland to island
On Oct 26, the short walk taken by the OSLH students with two staff members took them from their school to the jetty where they boarded a banana boat for a three minute ride from the Kaviengharbour to Nusa Island, beside the Nusa Island Retreat.
There their instructor, Luke James, took them through their first lesson in getting on the surfboards and getting used to paddling while on it as well as getting onto it with their feet while in water – as would be the case when they actually ride waves.
James was ably assisted by his son Seth, who is a student at the school, and a junior national representative in triathlon.
In their second lesson last week, the students went over the basics learned in the first week, in feeling comfortable moving around in the water while on the boards and even learning to duck dive, a skill that is vital when trying to go under an oncoming wave, one that they are not riding.
Their progress is commendable and is rather fast possibly because all of them have grown up here in Kavieng and are used to swimming and having fun in the sea.
Sign up for opportunities
OLSH principal Jo Martin said the school was giving opportunities to students in different ways and that was one of them. She urged the students to make use of the lessons.
“Make use of the opportunities. Keep your eyes and ears open for such opportunities, sign up and learn,’ she told the students during an assembly.
“You do not know what such opportunities can lead you to.”
She said the first lot of students, from Year 7 to 11, eight in all, started their first lessons last week and would continue on for the next couple of weeks. Another group would be taken on early next year while the surfing season was still on.
The first lot of eight students, which included three girls, will continue with their weekly lessons this week, the third so far. It is likely that in their fourth week, the students will be heading out to where there is surf and ride the waves.
By THOMAS HUKAHU