Veronica Wall Mid Canterbury’s rowing superstar, Veronica Wall, has been at it again.

The Ashburton College student, who has just completed Year 12, clean-swept her rivals at a Christmas Regatta on Lake Karapiro on the weekend – winning three separate age groups with consummate ease.

One of the real rising stars of rowing in New Zealand, Wall has enjoyed a stellar 2016 including an unprecedented four gold medals at the Maadi Cup Regatta back in April as well as both Canterbury and South Island Championships.

She signed off on 2016 in a similar fashion on the weekend too.

The only Ashburton representative at the regatta, Wall went through her six races for the event unbeaten.

Wall breezed through the Under 17 girls’ single sculls with a smashing performance in the heat before producing another great effort in the final – albeit 19 seconds slower than her heat performance.

Then she dealt out more of the same in the Under 18 singles sculls event – winning her heat by nearly 30 seconds before running through the final with a time of just under nine minutes.

The superstar saved her best for the open grade event however, winning her heat in a time of eight minutes and 34 seconds before improving on that dramatically in the final to win the women’s senior single sculls final in a time of eight minutes and four seconds.

As well as her results on the water, Wall has been cleaning up on solid ground as well this year.

She was awarded the prestigious Jubilee Cup from the Canterbury Rowing Association and was also crowned Aoraki’s Female Sportsperson of the Year.

By Matt Markham © The Ashburton Guardian - 19 December 2016

jack mcdonaldFormer student Jack McDonald has an entry in a national art competition run by Fonterra. #431AM Rural Artist of the Year.

Source - Fonterra
Our farmers are up at #431AM getting the country started but that is not all that they get up to. For many they also capture their environment on canvas and through the lens of a camera.
We want to recognise and celebrate our rural artists who capture the environment where we live, work and play.
Kurow Corner

This acrylic painting is by New Zealand artist Jack Magnus McDonald. Jack was raised on a dairy farm in Ashburton, studied in Christchurch and now works in Wellington. Having spent the last 5 years in cities, Jack always enjoys returning to the wide open spaces of the farm when he gets the chance although his father Mark would tell you that Jack is a useless farmer. Jack tends to disagree with his dad on this point. The painting is of a quite rural corner near Kurow.

Vote for Jack’s painting here

olivia stewartOlivia Stewart will be among soloists at tomorrow’s Mid Canterbury Choir’s Christmas Concerts. Photo Jamie AdairLike so many school leavers, Olivia Stewart did not know what career path she wished to pursue.

Following completing Ashburton College last year at the age of 17, the keen singer decided to have a gap year to give her more time.

She worked as a teacher aide at her former primary school of Dorie, and contemplated becoming an air hostess.

But in the end her passion for music won out, and next year the 18-year-old will attend the New Zealand School of Music at Victoria University to study classical performance.

The soprano classical singer began singing lessons at the age of 13 and is currently taking lessons with Amanda Atlas in Christchurch.

She is a Mid Canterbury Choir member, and will be among soloists to perform tomorrow  at the choir’s Christmas Concerts at St Stephen’s Church.

She said her involvement with the choir, and also participating in the Mid Canterbury Primary Schools’ Music Festival this year as a Dorie School conductor, had helped solidify her goal of following a musical career.

“This is really what I want to do, why throw it away for something you are not sure,” Olivia said.

Tomorrow’s concerts will feature Christmas Carols, and Olivia will sing Do You Hear What I Hear and Oh Holy Night.

There will be two other choir members also performing as soloists – Julie Harris, who will sing Ave Maria, and Elizabeth Small, who will sing O Little Town of Bethlehem.

The musical director will be Kathy McKimmie, and the concerts will be at midday and 5pm, with admission $5 at the door.

By Susan Sandys © The Ashburton Guardian - 15 December 2016