Home' Greymouth Star : March 10th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - 7
West Coast achievers
ust a few years ago Rachel
Springer was a high-flying
student at Karoro School and
head girl at Greymouth High
In December, the 23-year-old
will graduate from the D unedin
School of Medicine as a doctor.
“Being from the West Coast has never
hindered, in fact it has helped me a lot,”
Rachel, soon to be Dr Springer, says.
“In D unedin there are a lot of
connections with the West Coast. People
speak highly of the place and I am proud of
where I come from.”
Rachel is the youngest daughter of
Rose and John Springer, and following
the family tradition she attended Karoro
School and then went on to Greymouth
“I went to the Karoro Kindergarten and
then followed my two sisters, Shae and
Louise, to the Karoro primary school.
“Mrs Doocey was my first teacher and
then Mrs Truman taught me for two years
before she became principal. Mr Maskill
was the principal while I was there.
“I think I learned the hard work ethic but
I always enjoyed school, especially reading
“Karoro was a broad school and didn’t
just focus on academics, as we had the
opportunity to play lots of sports, and it
was a cultural school, too.”
Rachel was named top student for Year 8
at Karoro, so the transition to high school
came with an element of expectation.
“ I was initially quite nervous as I was a
perfectionist and I always put pressure on
myself to perform — it’s a good pressure,
though. I guess it was the expectations of
going to secondary school I put on myself.”
At Grey High she picked the subjects she
enjoyed, passing Year 11 with merit, Year
12 with excellence, and passed Year 13.
“ I did all the sciences as I enjoyed science
as well as graphics, but probably my best
subjects were history and art.
“ I was Greymouth High School head
girl in 2009 and I always wanted to go to
“ I went to a careers counsellor as I wanted
to go somewhere different, not so much
Christchurch, and with Dunedin being
more science based my inner self more or
less said that ’s where I was heading.
“ I went to university with an open mind
and the first year was an open course of
health science. It was a course which leads
to five professional fields — medicine,
dentistry, physiotherapy, pharmacy and
medical laboratory science.
“ I actually applied for everything except
dentistry, and got accepted for all, but
medicine stuck in my mind. My mum’s a
nurse and medicine seemed the best fit for
me,” she says.
“ It was an honour to go to Medical
School. Medicine is a six-year degree and I
am now in my last year.”
Rachel says she is getting good passes in
paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, and
now in her final year in medicine she
works as a trainee intern at Dunedin
“Our role there is to learn what our first
year as a house surgeon will be like, but
soon I’m to go overseas for three months to
further my training.
“For the three months I will be in
Cambodia and Malta by choice. I’ve been
to Cambodia before as a tourist and will be
working in a free health care centre in Sien
“The health care is run by New Hope
Cambodia. I didn’t have to go to Cambodia
but part of your final year training is to do
“I will also be in Malta and be working
in a large hospital over there, and will be
in endocrinology which is working in the
diabetes, hormone and thyroid area of
“That will be for six weeks.”
When Rachel graduates as Dr Springer in
December, she will apply to work in New
“At the completion of our six years in
medicine we apply for job applications and
I am already thinking about where I want
to go — New Plymouth, Christchurch and
Rachel Springer outside Dunedin
Hospital, where she is currently working.
Ever since Helen Connon left school in Hokitika in 1874 to become
the first female student at Canterbury University and a world-renowned
academic (and grandmother of James K Baxter), West Coast schools have
continued to produce a roll call of achievers who have excelled in their
chosen fields, many of them internationally. Here we celebrate some of our
school success stories. Today, reporter PAUL McBRIDE talks to Rachel
Springer about growing up in Greymouth, and what she’s up to today.
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