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December, 2020

A new not-for-profit school, focused on entrepreneurship and
leadership, will open in Queenstown next year.
In time the Liger Leadership Academy, which is setting up shop at Five
Mile, will help to diversify and strengthen Queenstowns economy, its
founders say.
The academy was unveiled publicly to New Zealand at Millbrook Resort
last month.
Its the brainchild of local residents Trevor Gile and his wife, Agnieszka
Tynkiewicz-Gile, who opened the pilot academy in Cambodia in 2012.
Gile says they set out to reinvent international aid about a decade
ago, but in the process realised they needed to reinvent education for
the 21st century.
There is an urgent global need to do this.
We created the Liger Academy as a response to focus education in a
direction that can help young people today be prepared for a future
thats completely uncertain.
Our goal is to empower young people to have the mindset and skills to
teach themselves what they need to know, when they need to know it,
and to apply that ability in any context, with whatever challenges life
will bring their way.
The academys got a particular focus on educating promising youth to
help them become socially-conscious, entrepreneurial leaders during
the six-year programme.
Results so far have exceeded their expectations, Gile says.
Its first students have just graduated from the six-year programme in
Cambodia  Tynkiewicz-Gile says 40 percent of them of them have
received full scholarships to global universities, including Ivy League
universities like Princeton, in the US, while others have chosen to
launch their own start-ups and one has established their own not-for-
profit organisation.
Development director Chris Sullivan says the curriculums based on
global cutting-edge practices and has a critical focus on STEM subjects
 science, technology, engineering and maths  with strong background
in essential subjects like English and social sciences and a pathway to
the arts.
Students focus on creating impact while studying, including working on
real-world environmental, social and cultural challenges.
We are looking to partner with individuals and organisations who share
our belief that learning should be real, relevant and engaging.
It is through working with partners, including other schools, that we
think we can contribute to the vibrancy of education options in
Queenstown, Sullivan says.
Just as important, Giles says, is the schools culture, which is defined by
kindness and consideration, collaboration, competition and
understanding of risk and how to manage it.
Theres no stigma for failure and lots and lots of fun.
Ahead of opening the Queenstown academy  Immigration New Zealand
allowing thatll happen in the second term of next year  the couples
launching the Liger Discovery Club, a one-day-a-week programme aimed
at Year 7 students, to give them a taste of the Liger methods and get
them into the mindset to enable them to become full-time students in
the Year 8-13 school.
The academy does a cohort intake every second year, targeting
increments of eight  their perfect intake size is 48, with ideal capacity
being 144 after six years.
Tynkiewicz-Gile says theyre hoping to have two different groups of
students starting next year.
Financial constraints are also not a barrier, the couple say.
The private schools got a not-for-profit status to make sure every dollar
going to the school stays there to benefit its kids.
In particular, we would like to ensure that if a student belongs in the
programme then financial considerations wont stop them, therefore its
a tuition and scholarship set-up, Gile says.
While theyd initially targeted Australia for their first expansion, after
they moved to the resort a couple of years ago it all just became
We love NZ, were here, its a booming market for secondary
education here and this would be the perfect place for our first
The timing is perfect.
I think we all know Queenstown & needs to diversify its economy and
thats not something that just happens overnight, its a long extended
process involving a lot of people and, to a large degree, education has a
role to play there and we hope to be additive to that as time passes.
I think the Liger Academy is going to fit into that model perfectly.

Source: Mountain Scene


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