Wednesday 7th November 2018

Cultural Blues were awarded several weeks ago for excellence in achievement and service across a wide range of cultural and artistic disciplines, including both the performing and visual arts. This year has been a particularly successful one for the college, with twelve recipients.

Visual Art

Ben Mitchell

Ben received two Blues awards, the first for outstanding achievement in visual art, painting. This year, Ben was awarded 1st place in the Edinburgh Realty Art Awards- selected from 205 paintings from around the South Island. It is important to note that there is no age restriction for these awards, so Ben was competing against adult artists, some with professional portfolios. A remarkable achievement for a secondary school student. Ben’s second Blue is in Languages, in recognition of his being awarded the prestigious Goethe Institut Scholarship, which entails an 11 week trip to Germany next year. The selection is based on both ability and willingness to communicate in German, as well as a candidate’s ability to represent New Zealand overseas and act as an ambassador for their country. There were only two awarded in New Zealand.

Tim Scott

Tim received his Blue for outstanding achievements in visual art. He was a national finalist – one of only two from the South Island – in the prestigious Wallace Secondary School Art Awards for his sculpture exploring themes of the often uneasy relationship between nature and machine. Tim also submitted an independent portfolio of work for this award, as well as studying IB visual art at Higher Level.  


Adam Tait - Endorsement

Adam’s achievements in music continue, including being a regional finalist for SmokefreeRockQuest with Under Apex for the last two years running. One original song has been released onto public music streaming platforms including Spotify and iTunes. ‘Lock you Away’ has been streamed more than 400 times to date in New Zealand and at least four other countries.

Samuel Leaper - Endorsement

Sam has passed his teachers/diploma theory exam and is going to sit his Grade 8 performance exam soon. He is in the JMC choir which performed at the Big Sing, and as a member of the jazz band won the Most Promising Pianist at the Dunedin Secondary School's Jazz Festival. Sam has performed at the Smokefree Rockquest for the past four years and has participated in the DSSMF for the past four years as a member of the choir, orchestra and jazz band.

Geoffrey Kemp – Endorsement

This year, Geoffrey participated in the first Dunedin Youth Jazz Festival and received a prize for the most promising saxophone player. Last year, he passed his Grade 8 clarinet exam. This year in October, he will be completing his ARSM diploma, and he also passed his Grade 7 St. Cecelia singing exam with distinction.

Boen Deng 

Boen received a Blue for outstanding achievement in chamber music. In 2018, he was a winner at the Otago regional finals and attended the South Island finals.  

Aidan Hung

Aidan receives this award for outstanding achievement in choir; as well as being a member of the JMC Brotherhood choir, he has been a member of the New Zealand Secondary Students Choir for the last three years.


Jake Willsman

Jake receives this award for his outstanding achievement and contribution to technical theatre arts. He ran the sound and lighting for the St. Hilda’s major production this year, a role usually performed by a qualified adult. His expertise in running the technical side of the production, and supervising others was highly commended. Jake also has extensive experience with productions on the Taieri during the past four years, and in terms of school service has run the lighting and sound for all school socials during the last two years.

Stewart Ashton 

Stewart is a senior member of the JMC Theatresports team, and has also coached junior theatresports. He competed in the winning STAC team, as well as representing JMC in the Dunedin semi-finals and final last term. He was part of the cast of Hamlet which competed in the Shakespeare Festival Otago Regional Final. Stewart was involved with the NZ Theatre Month event - 'Whakahari Whakaari ' performing a scene from the play Niu Sila . Stewart has consistently received Excellence in all of his standards this year for Level 2 Drama. Stewart was in the Columba Production of Fiddler on the Roof, the drama school INTERACT, New Zealand Speech and Drama school (where he got straight Honours Plus for his performances). Stewart is also part of the INKSTER group for creative writing where several of his pieces have been published. He also won a Year 11 award for creative writing, as well as being excellence endorsed for English. In terms of service, he is a tutor in Excel Tutoring and assists younger students with activities like writing and speech.


Ben Porter 

Ben has been a member of our senior Theatre Sports team during the last two years. He was selected for the team that went to the Dunedin semi-finals and then competed in the regional final. Ben was selected to compete in the Sheilah Winn Festival of Shakespeare Otago Regional Final, performing in a scene from Hamlet. Ben was selected to represent JMC in the Dunedin Theatre month celebration - Whakahari Whakaari in which he played several characters from the NZ play, Niu Sila written by Oscar Kightley and Dave Armstrong. Ben has taken Drama every year since Year 7 and has received Excellence grades for every NCEA Drama standard this year. Earlier in the year, Ben was selected as one of the Fortune Theatre ambassadors for 2018. 

Performing Arts

Will Paterson

Will has been involved in four school productions (Idiots Guide to Broadway, Suspect: A Murder Mystery Musical, as well as a leads roles in Rock of Ages, and Bring It On). He was a stage manager for the JMC entry of the Shakespeare Festival Otago Regional Final. He is a student representative on the McGlashan Arts Committee and also helped organise a NZ Theatre Month school fundraiser Whakahari Whakaari - which raised over $1000 for the Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust. Will also has four years of NZ Speech and Drama performances and assessments to his credit. 

James Burchell

James has been involved with the JMC Theatresports programme for seven years. He has been in the senior competition team for two years, and this year he served as captain. He has performed in the Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival for two years - in 2017 in Romeo and Juliet, and in 2018 he played the title role in Hamlet. Outside of school, James has been heavily involved with music - with The Little Box of Operas 2018 production of The Four Note Opera, and in the Fringe Festival production of Elemental.  During the South Island Ballet Awards in 2018 he won a scholarship to the Vitacca Vocational School of Dance in Houston, Texas. He also has five Years in the Dunedin Youth Orchestra and three Years in the NZ Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra. James is now a contract player with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra. Most notably, he has just been accepted into the New Zealand School of Dance's intake for next year - which provides world-class training in classical and contemporary dance. 

uge congratulations to all of our Cultural Blues recipients for this year.