Steve Boyd on working with Amped4Life

Steve Boyd is one of those wonderful teachers who lives and breathes the work he does. He is the Assistant Principal at Aorere College where is in charge of Pastoral Care, Discipline and Student Management. Born and raised in Papatoetoe, Steve comes from a teaching background, growing up in Papatoetoe as a young man but  traveling each day to attend Howick College where his mother was Head of PE. He started his teaching career at James Cook High School in Manurewa and has been with Aorere for just over seven years. Steve became aware of the  Amped4Life programme about four years ago at the Papatoetoe West Rotary Club where Pat Buckley was presenting. Steve believes that Pat Buckley's message is vitally important and reaches students in ways that other education and awareness programmes often don't.


How do you know Pat? 

It was at this initial presentation that I realised that I was a few years behind Pat and his twin brother at high school and that they had both played a significant part in keeping me out of trouble and safe at school all those years ago. Even back then Pat had a penchant for helping people.


What is the scale of the problem Amped4Life is addressing in New Zealand and in Papatoetoe in particular?

The scope of the problems that Amped4Life are addressing on a national and regional level are significant, however it must be mentioned here that the scale of drug and alcohol abuse in our school is quite small. We work with an agency to have a drug detector dog in our school once a Term and in the last three years have only had one instance of any substances being detected. This is not to say that drugs don’t appear in our school from time to time, or that we don’t have students who use/abuse drugs but rather that most of our students do not abuse drugs or alcohol. Hard drugs are far more prevalent in higher decile schools where there is more ability to afford them. Aorere College is a caring and concerned community, working with good parents and good students.


How does Amped4Life undertake their work?

The process of having Amped4Life in our school is very simple. We basically agree on a date with Pat and he does the rest. He sets up the stage, the electronic equipment etc. and we just have to provide the audience.


How do you think Amped4Life helps young people?

The beauty of the Amped4Life programme is that it is not really just about drug abuse or alcohol abuse or texting whilst driving etc. Pat makes it very clear to the students that he is NOT telling them not to do things. Rather, he is telling them that there are going to be many instances where they will be faced with hard choices that will have serious, possibly lifelong consequences and he wants them to be armed with sufficient, accurate information so that they can make the right choice for themselves and their peers.


How do students respond to Pat?

Pat and his “story” are pivotal in the message getting across to our students. He has a commanding presence on the stage and because his story is ‘real’ and includes personal experience, the message has real credibility. Our students respond well to a combination of ‘from the heart’, humour and hard fact and this is what Pat delivers. Our students listen and the feedback is always positive. Our students really rate listening to ‘real’ people.


What is one of your most memorable Amped4Life experiences?

My most memorable Amped4Life experience was probably the first time I heard Pat say how many of his friends he had buried and realising that I knew some of them. Also hearing how close Pat came to death and the revelation for him that came from that experience and that he now spends his life saving lives.


How does Amped4Life make a difference?

Aorere College is a great school with outstanding citizens. The overwhelming majority of our students currently make good choices and are assisted in this by their parents and their teachers. However, at some point in the near future they will all step out into the big, wide, and sometimes unforgiving world and be ever increasingly exposed to negative pressures. The benefit of having Amped4Life on board is that they totally reinforce our work in helping to arm our students with appropriate information to carry on making positive life choices and to hopefully avoid some of the terrible pitfalls that are potentially out there.