We were up bright and early to meet up at school at 6 am for a very exciting week, full of volleyball. The Senior A volleyball team were off to Palmerston North for the 51st Volleyball Nationals where there was a total of 98 girls teams, we were all very excited. Coming with us were the amazing duo Andree Schultz and Marianne Nalder, and halfway through Simone Harris, they were amazing to have on the trip and we cannot thank you guys enough for your commitment and encouragement on the sideline. We drove to Picton to catch the 10:30 ferry to Wellington, jamming away to Bridget’s favourites, but off and on you could hear the argument to skip the next song in the back. The following day we got to go on an all-time favourite shopping spree, all of us got a few bits and pieces. Then in the afternoon, we got into our formal uniforms, what we called our ‘number ones’, and got all dolled up for the opening ceremony.

There were some amazing acts but I think our favourite was the singing duet singing Shallow by Lady Gaga. The first couple of days of volleyball we found very successful, like winning our first game at 8 am. It was a bit of a nail biter, the first set against Mt Maunganui went to 30-28 but eventually Garin took the first 3 sets. We all agreed that was a great game, as we put our bodies on the line and had each other’s backs. After what seemed like many games we finished 2nd in our pool and qualified for the top 16 in our division, which we thought was pretty amazing! We played against two new teams on Wednesday and we took a 3 set win against Taupo but took a loss against Hastings but all we could do was our absolute best. On Thursday we had to say goodbye to our amazing Marianne, she was an outgoing, positive, superstar – Marianne we loved having you there with us. Simone then accepted the challenge to handle 10 teenage girls for the rest of the trip. We played against Havelock North and took the win 3 sets to 1 but then had a very challenging game against Westlake High School, losing our chance for 9th and 10th. We had moments of brilliance but the other team, on the other hand, had more brilliant moments than us. We got home at 11:30 pm! Milo and some cake and straight to bed. Last game day we got to play our neighbours Waimea College A for 11th and 12th position. It was an amazing game and our team played out of their skins (it was just amazing to watch when I was off) and we won 3 sets to 1. Got to night time and no more volleyball but it was time to party!! We all got dressed up as rugby players (thank you, Anya, for getting the tops) and we all had a great time at the social, we had many laughs. Then come the last day we packed up and hit the road getting back to Nelson at 8pm.

What a week it had been me, being a year 11. It was an amazing first experience, it couldn’t have gone any better and I am very thankful for all the behind the scenes people who made this trip possible. We would like to give a big massive thank you to Club Garin and Office Products for their sponsorship, if it wasn’t for them this trip would have been much harder. And from the team thank you again Andree Schultz, Marianne Nalder and Simone Harris for your amazing commitment, your company and your passion for volleyball, you guys are the champions in our eyes. We are deeply going to miss the year 13’s next year, it was amazing having such great role models in the team – we wish you luck and we will make you proud in the years to come. But always keep smiling team and keep your dancing feet on! By Sapphire Kyles