Cromwell College pupils are learning resilience at the extreme end of the scale thanks to a Queenstown tourism operator.
Last week 120 of the college’s year 9 pupils jumped off the Kawarau Bridge courtesy of bungy operator AJ Hackett.
The leap was part of the company’s “Brave Project” initiative teaching pupils how to build resilience and deal with stress.
For pupil Anika Takimoana, taking the leap off the bridge was “fun but really scary”.
She had two false starts before she finally jumped and was happy she did.
“I’ve learnt that to be resilient is to try and try again and again which I did, and it doesn’t matter if you didn’t do it the first time, or the second or the third, as long as you tried your best,” she said.
AJ Hackett innovations and project manager Matt Hollyer said the bungy operator trialled the Brave Project with Wakatipu School earlier in the year and was refining its processes with Cromwell College before rolling it out to other schools.
Pupils were taught tools and techniques to cope with stress and then used the extreme example of bungy jumping to put them into practice, he said.
Pupils were taught how to measure their own stress levels to gain an understanding of how their body worked and simple heart rate monitors showed them how stress levels changed.
Standing on the 43m-high bridge some pupils were “cool, calm and collected” with no heart rate changes, however others saw a noticeable difference, Mr Hollyer said.
“Some kids though, they’re like real people and their heart rates are peaking and they’re clearly getting a bit worried [standing ready to jump] and they still take on the challenge and do a really good job,” he said.
The project was funded by the company and part of its commitment to the community, he said.
“Life is tough at the moment so let’s give [young people] some tools and make it fun at the same time.”