Kiwi teens say Silicon Valley trip life-changing

  • 06/09/2014

A group of teenagers from low decile schools have returned from a trip to Silicon Valley that they say was life-changing.

The 12 students are now visiting other schools to encourage pupils to take a risk and pursue their dreams.

Travelling to the United States was an inspiration for the high schoolers. Now they are hoping they can inspire others.

"I got a spot on this trip by taking a risk and applying when I thought it was highly unlikely I would be picked," says Lynna Son of Manurewa High School. "Taking a huge risk was what got me to Silicon Valley, which was an experience that changed my life."

Twelve students from low decile schools spent a week in California visiting tech giants like Google, Apple and Microsoft. There was one piece of advice they kept hearing.

"Don't think that failure is the end of everything; failure is just a stepping stone in the right direction," says Justin Walker of Manurewa High School. "We learn a lot from failure."

That advice has boosted the students' confidence.

"Before this trip we didn't even know how to talk in front of adults and we were still really nervous talking and pitching our ideas in front of everyone, but after this trip we know how to pitch ideas and to put our ideas forward," says Lynna.

The trip was organised by broadcaster Andrew Patterson and sponsored by New Zealand tech companies.

"I now know that I want to be a developer in software and stuff and coding for the Apple app market, and that was the real clear thing I got from going on the trip," says Jordan Ngata of Manurewa High School.

"They now think that if they have a good idea they can take that, they can run with it, they can make that a big thing," says Manurewa High School deputy principal Phil Muir.

The idea was that when they returned home the students would share their experiences with pupils from other low decile schools.

"Looking at what they said, those companies really innovate people and inspire others to rise up and do amazing things," says Marico Tupaea-Petero of Manurewa Intermediate School.

For the students of Manurewa Intermediate School, Silicon Valley no longer feels so far away.

The trip will be repeated next year, with twice as many students getting the chance to visit Silicon Valley.

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source: newshub archive