Believing that each person has a different road to success is what makes Billie Allan determined to find it.
The 17-year-old’s passion for aerobics and her desire to help people helped shape who she is today.
She started aerobics in 10th grade, but found herself struggling.
“It was a lot of hard work. It just didn’t come naturally to me.”
Despite this, she never thought twice if it was right for her.
Instead, she knelt down.
In 2020, she took the sport to a new level during lockdown and started finding her own ways to improve through the internet.
“I watched so many different tutorials.”
She found herself making much more progress and was intrigued by how different methods could work for different people.
Now she coaches elementary through high school athletes and uses that wisdom to experiment with their routines and develop methods that work best for her students.
One of her biggest interests was people and she loved helping them learn more about themselves and their own potential, she said.
This was one of the reasons she wanted to study both sports science and psychology.
Her progress took hard work, but it paid off as she won national titles, including a third place international for her duo last year.
She has also spent her time working to improve the world around her.
One way to do this was through her school’s Interact group, which was dedicated to service.
The group worked on at least three service projects a year: one for the school, one for the local community and one international.
They included bake sales for Haiti, Relay For Life, random acts of kindness, and volunteering with local charities.
As Vice-Principal, she enjoyed the relationships she was able to build with junior high students and school staff.
It was a unique position that allowed her to help out more at school, which she appreciated.
Achievements: Assistant to the Director (2022); Zonta Women in Science Award (2021); Queen’s Young Investigator Award (2020, 2021); academic blue (2020, 2021); 1st in biology, calculus, chemistry, physics, EP (2021); grade 12 speech cut (2021); aerobics blue (2021); Senior QHS Aerobics Champion (2021); NZCAF National Aerobics Championships 1st Open Senior Novice Individual, Senior Secondary Team (2021); trophy for artistic excellence (2021); FISAF International Line Aerobics Championships 3rd Duo (2021); Chairman of Interact (2022); school council (2018-22); UoO Young Women in Leadership Program (2021).
Model: His head daughter Mereana Martin, his teachers and coaches.
Hopes for the future: Double Major in Sports Science and Psychology at the University of Otago.
Much of Mereana Martin’s life is spent in the water.
Whether it’s playing water polo, swimming or participating in surf lifesaving competitions, the principal of Queen’s High School always does her best.
Growing up, his mother was part of the St Clair Surf Live Saving Club and both of his parents played water polo.
Many of their family vacations involved the beach, and her parents thought it was important for her to learn to swim early.
She came to really love the water, and as she got older she became more involved in water sports.
“I especially love being in the surf,” Mereana said.
Now 18, she spends around 10 hours a week in the water over six sessions.
“I come out like a prune.”
That time in the water paid off, as she was awarded the Most Valuable Under-16 Female Player award for Otago Waterpolo in 2020 and in the Under-18 category last year.
This year, she finished first in the 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke for ages 17-18 at the Otago High School Swimming Championships and holds the 15-plus 50m backstroke record for girls in the short course of Otago secondary schools.
In addition to this, she spends her time as a volunteer lifeguard for the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club and participates in local competitions and events.
Although she enjoys competition, volunteering her time to be a lifeguard is just as important to her.
At school, Mereana considers being Head Girl a real privilege, but tries to be seen more as a pair than a leader by her fellow students.
Her classmates and juniors all shared the experience together and she wanted them to be comfortable with her, she said.
“I happen to be Head Girl.”
Both in class and in the water, she tries not to worry too much about her image or her results.
“I don’t feel any pressure that I have to be amazing.”
Achievements: Head Girl (2022); Otago waterpolo U16 most valuable (2020), female player U18 (2021); Aqua Queen water polo captain (2022); Opie Mason Cup (2021); St Clair U19 McAlpine Cup Women’s Surf Race (2022); Open St. Clair Surf Race Otago Cup (2022); PE excellence, statistics, painting (2021); Queen’s Young Investigator Award (2020, 2021); academic blue (2020, 2021); Mention of Excellence level 1 (2020), level 2 (2021); blue water polo (2021); sports service — netball (2021); vice-champion of athletics senior (2021).
Model: Billie Allan, assistant manager, for being an incredibly kind and reliable person.
Hopes for the future: To study Marine Science at the University of Otago.