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School camp saved by star power

Masterton Primary School. PHOTO/FILE

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Broadcaster Hillary Barry has spearheaded a funding boost for Masterton Primary School’s Year 6 camp.

When Barry heard the school was about to cancel the annual event due to covid-19 fundraising restrictions, she sent an email to school principal Sue Walters saying she would be more than happy to promote it on her Facebook feed.

“I don’t know if you remember your own school camp but it’s an incredible experience and a rite of passage for lots of students,” Barry wrote.

“It may be the first camping experience many will have had.”

The annual term three disco fundraiser was cancelled because Alert Level 2 restrictions don’t allow more than 100 people in a room at a time.


Thanks to Barry’s initiative, at 3pm on Thursday the school had received $1600 in its bank account.

A comment on Barry’s post from Waitomo Group also declared a $2000 donation and additional petrol vouchers for parents.

Although it had not cleared yet, the two sums would mean they hit their target and then some.

“School camps are as Kiwi as Marmite and jandals”, the Waitomo Group wrote.

Masterton Primary School teacher Sarah Sulzberger said, “some of our kids don’t ever get to go away and for some it’s their first time doing all of these activities”.

Any extra money left would not be kept by the school, instead it would go into a volunteer project she ran in her class, she said.

“For our kids, because we’re a decile three school, it’s really where we get to see a lot of them come out of their shell and really come into their own.”

“We’ve got some families who contribute what they can, they pay $2 a week at the beginning of the year or $10 a week, but without the fundraising camp would not be possible.

“Kids feel that pressure too, they know that money is tight – I even had one student this year say, ‘I’m not going to camp because I can’t afford it’.

“A lot of the time we forget, if we don’t ask for help, we don’t get it.”

Barry, whose first job out of journalism school was in Wairarapa at Today FM 89.3, said it would be such a shame if these children did not get to go to camp because of covid-19.

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