Challenge College


WOW! We had an excellent, eventful and quite successful term 3!

Key achievements this term were: fundraising and donating $175.00 to the Kenbe La Foundation – The Source of Hope School — as part of our community focus projects, a Luncheon for invited guests, and school Camp!


The aim of our Community Focus Friday afternoons was to allow the students to think/look outside themselves at other people within our community. Not just the community we live in, but our community as a city, as a nation and as part of the global community.


How did the students achieve success in fundraising $175.00? By hard work on the part of the students, the staff, and people/organisations within our community. The idea came about at the start of Term 3, when we were researching Haiti and the effects of the devastating earthquake in January. We took particular interest in the story of Emily Sanson-Rejouis, who lost her husband and two of her three daughters. Part of her healing was to have her husband’s dream of a school for the impoverished young people of Haiti built.

We had a sausage sizzle – and thanks to Mitre 10 Mega Petone for letting us have our sausage sizzle there and to Brumby’s in Johnsonville for donating many loaves of bread … and also our Challenge College Principal who paid for the other resources to ensure that the money we raised all went towards our goal. The students did a fabulous job, and did themselves and Challenge College proud.

The other fundraising event was our performance of a 15 minute version of William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. The students were outstanding, even though they had stepped well out of their comfort zone. And the audience were further entertained with a performance from one of our students, an up & coming rap artist – Tyler, also known as Ty-1. Family, friends and Challenge 2000 staff came along to support the students, making at least a gold coin donation at the door to help in our Haiti fundraising efforts.

Class Reps making the Donation for The Source of Hope School.


As part of the students’ think/look outside ourselves initiative, we thought it would be good to give back to those who love and support us. So the students each invited a family member or a Challenge 2000 staff member to a lunch that they planned, prepared and cooked. During term 3, the students had been involved in cooking classes and used some of the recipes they had learnt. The menu consisted of sushi, chicken pie and salad, chocolate cake, butterscotch sauce and ice cream for dessert.

Each student invited someone and all did their part to help prepare, cook and serve the meal to their guests – a great effort by all of the students.


The students were dubious about the prospect of the unfamiliar and unknown – will there be power? Will there be a flushable toilet? Will we have cell phone coverage? Just a few of the questions asked when camp was mentioned!

Trying to get close enough to take a photo

We travelled in the van over the Rimutaka ranges to Greytown, then headed inland to our home for the next three days and two nights. To many people’s delight we had a roof, four walls, running hot and cold water and flushing toilets! We set up, unpacked and then headed to experience, some for the first time, a dairy farm near Masterton. The weather was horrible and made things a little unpleasant! After a swim at the Masterton pool Andy organised a lovely ‘bush tucker’ dinner of sausages, veges and potatoes, before we all readied ourselves for bed and ‘camp fire’! Since the weather was still not being kind to us, a torch lantern in the middle of the floor had to suffice as our ‘camp fire’. We told stories and Andy introduced us to ‘Cedric’ the local boogie man!

Fine weather the next day saw us travelling to Cape Palliser to see the largest colony of seals in the North Island and then climbing 258 steps to the light house. All of us made it to the top. After lunch we practised our waiata for our visit to Papawai Marae. We all enjoyed our marae experience and learnt a lot! Then Andy took the boys to collect fire wood so we could have a real camp fire that night, while the girls had a good gossip over dinner preparations.

Dinner was eaten with the camp fire raging, and it didn’t matter where we moved — the wind would change and send the smoke to us! Our camp fire Leader Andy, with helper Jeff, prepped the fire for marshmellow roasting, at which we all had a go. Some were natural talents, others needed a bit of coaching from Andy. Before bed we each shared our highlight for the day.

Last day of camp, and the weather was still good. Breakfast, pack up, tidy up, ready to return home after lunch. The driving range before lunch was a blast! There were some students who were good, one hitting the ball over 150m, while two of the staff members hit it past 200m!

Then clean up, load up and finish off our camp with a thought from each participant on how they felt about camp. Such an amazing experience was the consensus of all and the students were asking to stay longer, or at least have another camp in Term 4!

Snow fight begins…

Because it had snowed the night before we stopped at the top of the Rimutaka hills and had a snow fight – the first time for some of the students! Then we were back at Challenge College. What a great time we had!

Snow fight continues…

Romeo & Juliet

Challenge College’s last Haiti Fundraising Event

Capulet Party Scene

Tuesday, September 14th was a very exciting day for everyone involved in Challenge College: the stage at Newlands Community Centre turned into Verona Mall and the students and some staff members into Montagues and Capulets.

This term, Tuesday afternoons were — literally — all about drama!

Our project started in late July when the staff decided to stage a 15 minute version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Since it is quite hard to identify with the original characters and the ancient language, the students gave the play a modern touch by changing the lines using their own words.  Rehearsals turned out to be more difficult than expected because we had to make several cast changes during the term.

Paris and Romeo

Newlands Community Centre was the site of our last rehearsal and the performance.   Everyone felt a little bit nervous and unsure about performing in front of the audience.  At 1.30 the last guests – students’ families, Challenge 2000 staff members, a representative of the City Council and one from the Vodafone Foundation – arrived.   We were pleased and relieved that our performance was so good, and so well received by the audience.

After that, our student Tyler, also known as Ty-1, impressed the audience by performing a few rap songs.

This term’s community work has been about getting the students at Challenge College to look outside of themselves and think of the community – from Johnsonville, to Wellington, New Zealand and globally! Our main focus on this theme has been to raise funds in support of the Kenbe La Foundation Source of Hope School in Haiti. We researched the tragedy and devastation the earthquake caused in Haiti, specifically looking at the story of Emily Sanson-Rejouis. The students got behind the idea of raising money to help the impoverished young people of Haiti get an education – we had a sausage sizzle, and as part of their other studies this term performed an extract from Romeo & Juliet which seemed to be a good way to raise even more money.  Those that came to support were great, some even giving more than a gold coin entry fee to help us surpass our fundraising goal!

We are so proud of our students and we want to thank them for getting up on the stage even if it made them feel uncomfortable!

Tabea and Steffi

Breaking News!

Alternative Education

It was wonderful to see a news release on September 1 from Anne Tolley and Pita Sharples that there will be an increase in Alternative Education Funding for 2011.

Challenge College has always been fortunate to have a registered teacher and have struggled financially to make ends meet. This is a great start towards meeting the needs of young New Zealanders who deserve and must have the right to a good education.

It is better that they are supported to address their difficulties at adolescence rather than being incarcerated at young adulthood.

Sadly it is true that most prison inmates left college before Year 11 – lets continue to act and put the ambulance nearer the bottom of the cliff! Education is the Key.

Challenge College

Challenge College –

Alternative Education Programme

Term 3 has started with a hiss and a roar! We all enjoyed the school holiday break and are looking forward to another exciting term.

The last week of Term 2 was our EOTC Week (Education Outside the Classroom) which involved a variety of activities around the Wellington region: flying fox and confidence course at El Rancho, ten pin bowling, mini golf and much more! The students really enjoyed getting out and taking part in fun activities.

Tuesday afternoon is “Drama”. This term the students are studying Romeo & Juliet and they will be performing it for some invited guests at the end of term. If you would like to be invited, please let us know!!!

Our Friday afternoon project at the moment is learning about Haiti and the devastating earthquake that hit the island in January this year. We are paying special attention to Emily Sanson-Rejouis (the New Zealand woman whose husband and two daughters were killed in the earthquake) and her efforts to raise funds for the people of Haiti. The students hope to do some fundraising so we can send some money or supplies to Haiti.

Here are some photos from our EOTC Week…

CC_EOTC week 1

CC_EOTC week 2

CC_EOTC week 3

CC_EOTC week 4

Another busy start to the year

This year has been busy and is flying by so quickly. We at Challenge 2000 are kept busy with running Individual programmes, Challenge College, Newlands Community Centre, youth group and other youth programmes, overnight camps, staff training, farewells and welcome-parties! In between staff have snatched some time to continue planning and goal setting for the rest of 2010.
We have a wonderful team of passionate, experienced and qualified youth, and social and community work staff, who are geared up to provide a variety of innovative, and holistic programmes for the young people and families who access our services.

We now have a new manager for our Youth and Family Centre. Congratulations, and welcome to your new role Tina.

Along with this, Challenge has gone through some structural changes. Bridget Roche has responsibility for operational management of Challenge while Kitty remains Challenge 2000’s leader and will continue to supervise the GAP programme, special projects, ministry and development, build partnerships with corporates and government and mentor senior staff.

Challenge College

Challenge College –

Alternative Education Programme

Challenge College has started off really well. The students have
worked continuously hard with their correspondence work and are making real
progress. Our afternoon sessions have worked well with Sport, Drama, Girls
Group and our newest activity ‘Keeping Johnsonville Beautiful’, where we
go around Johnsonville parks and pick up rubbish. Giving back to the

The last week of term saw us out and about in Wellington on our EOTC Week
(Education Outside The Classroom). A few activities we did were rock
climbing, lawn bowls, driving range, swimming, a big coastal walk (visiting
the Ataturk Memorial and Wahine site), watched Hurricanes training, a walk
through the Botanical Gardens and many more! It was a great week of team
building and new experiences for the students.

As money is tight at the moment (well always) we sent a letter out to various Marist Colleges in New Zealand asking if they could run some fundraising activities in their school and donate the funds to Challenge College. We were very lucky and grateful to have a few schools send us some donations, which helped us fund out EOTC Week.

Below are some photos of our activities for the week.

Lawn bowls

EOTC Week – Lawn bowls

Rock Climbing

EOTC Week – Indoor rock climbing

Kilbirnie Memorial

ANZAC Day Trip – Gerard Tully talks about the Kilbirnie Memorial

War memorial

ANZAC Day Trip – visit to the War Memorial

Angllican Cathedral

Kitty talks about the memorial in the Anglican Cathedral

Ataturk Memorial

Students visit the Ataturk Memorial

Pushing the van

EOTC Week – team building exercise – after the van broke down!

Acting Up

Since being a part of Challenge 2000 I have put my theatrical skills to use in creating and staging small scale shows with the students at Challenge College.  Last year we explored Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and at the end of the 2009 the audience was invited to a party in Porirua in the play called “It’s My Party.”

This year we will have a devised performance to prepare and we’ll be revisiting Shakespeare’s works in term 3.  I have been a professional theatre practitioner for 10 years as a composer, actor, writer, director and just recently I co-wrote and performed a play in the International Arts Festival called He Reo Aroha which will do a return season at Circa Theatre in June. In April this year I was invited to Hong Kong to workshop with students as part of an International Youth Theatre Project called Strangers 2.

I look forward to working with the Challenge College students this term to devise an exciting piece we can perform back to the community.

Ma te wa

Jamie McCaskill