Tauranga Intermediate School's dominance at the NZCT Aims Games in recent years continued last week with the school cleaning up the gold medals won and overall medal tallies.
The school won 61 medals in total, with 24 golds, which was built around 36 medals won in the gym sports programme.
Christchurch's Heaton Intermediate came second, with 25 medals and 15 golds. Their superiority in the swimming events was almost complete, as they won 21 medals in the pool.
Auckland's Bucklands Beach Intermediate finished third, collecting 14 medals with eight golds.
This is the sixth time in the past seven years that Tauranga Intermediate has been the main medal winner at the games. So what is the secret? Is it because the school is the biggest in New Zealand and therefore has a numerical advantage? Well no, because often smaller, sports-centric schools outperform bigger rivals that have so many different priorities.
The answer lies in the fundamental status sport is given at Tauranga Intermediate. It is a key part of the students' education and is crucial to building self-confidence.
Sebrena Jackson and Lauren Stull coached the high-performing gym team at the games.
They are both adamant about what drives the school's sporting success.
"Tauranga Intermediate has a big sport ethos and we encourage all the kids to do it as much as possible," Jackson said. "A lot of it is because the teachers who are there get behind it all. Sport is so good for discipline and routine. It really helps those who are not going so well academically because it brings up their self-esteem and confidence, and gives them something to aim for.
"The principal [Brian Diver] has a big role in it, getting all the sports together and driving it. He is extremely positive and puts sport in line with academics as part of educating the kids."
This is the first experience of working at Tauranga Intermediate for Stull, who previously coached gym sports at Blockhouse Bay Intermediate in Auckland.
In her view the involvement of the staff makes the difference between the two schools.
"The ingredient for success here is not only do the kids work as a team but the staff work as a team," Stull said. "We all have the same goal, we are all working hard, and are all dedicated to what we do. I think when Brian is employing teachers, he looks for that real passion inside them in whatever they are going to lead with at the school. It is a great environment to be part of."