BOP Award Recognises Alumni’s Servant Leadership

Aquinas is proudly cheering on another one of our alumni! 2023 graduate Kate Dekker recently won the Western Bay Community Awards’ Youth Spirit category for her leadership of AC’s Kura Kai programme and volunteer work. Home on break from Canterbury University, Kate stopped by last week to tell us about the win…

“When I saw my face pop up, I was ecstatic,” said Kate who was in Christchurch during last month’s award ceremony. “I ran from my room all the way to the common room in my socks to celebrate with my friends because I couldn’t call my parents as the awards evening hadn’t ended yet. I still can’t get over it.”

She is encouraging more Aquinas students to volunteer for a cause. “You get 100 per cent more out of volunteering than you give. It was super simple for us at Kura Kai – 30 to 60 minutes in the kitchen, having fun, listening to music. While for the people receiving the food, it meant the world.”

Kate spearheaded AC Kura Kai last year and led several school fundraising initiatives as head of the Health and Wellbeing Committee. She also volunteered twice a week to help a young girl with cerebral palsy as part of a neurodevelopmental therapy programme.

“You always get such a nice feeling after helping someone and it costs you nothing,” Kate notes. “You can also build lots of connections and relationships through volunteering.

“I am very grateful for the support I got from teachers at school and my relationships with them (those definitely help with university applications) but also with others outside of school, like Marie from Kura Kai, and the Army of Aunties.”

Watch Kate’s Western Bay Community Award video at

Congratulations Kate, we’re so proud of your achievements and example to others!