The first optical dispensers to graduate from a new course run by OptiBlocks NZ, and the Australasian College of Optical Dispensing (ACOD) have been acknowledged at an awards event on 26 October.
The event was held during the annual conference for the Association of Dispensing Opticians New Zealand at Waipuna, Auckland.
This was the first class of students to graduate in New Zealand from the course established by ACOD / OptiBlocks – the education arm of the Association of Dispensing Opticians of New Zealand (ADONZ). Of 28 students from all parts of New Zealand, 25 students attended to receive their certificate, along with over 150 guests, work place colleagues, friends, family and conference delegates.
The highlight of the evening was the announcement of the inaugural winner of the David Wilson Memorial Award
The highlight of the evening was the announcement of the inaugural winner of the David Wilson Memorial Award. Dr. David Wilson, from Sydney Australia, has been a prominent fixture in NZ optics for many years, and when he died two years ago the ADONZ chose to celebrate his legacy with this award. Dr. Wilson’s wife Jan, who has also been close to the Association for many years, was specially invited to present the award to the first recipient, Samantha Ballantyne of Hamilton. Ms. Ballantyne was also ranked first in course.
Speaking of her achievements, Samantha Ballantyne said, “I had started studying with OTEN around 15 years ago and with moving cities, changing jobs then having children…..life just got in the way.
“Being qualified still carries a huge amount of weight within in NZ, so after 20 years in the industry I wanted to be recognized as a Dispensing Optician and finally have those letters after my name!
“On a professional level, completing the course really gives a deeper understanding of dispensing and why it’s so important to be accurate, as well as the implications of ‘lazy’ dispensing,” she said.
Ms. Balantyne added, “James & Chedy at ACOD are amazing at explaining quite complicated concepts and applying them to more practical ‘workplace relevant’ situations.”
Other award winners on the night included: Christian Hipp (second in course), Jenna Barneveld (third in course), and Jasmine Brodie Fell who received the special achievement award.
2018 NZ Optical Dispensing Graduates
The optical dispensers to graduate from the OptiBlocks NZ/ACOD were:
Samantha (Sam) Ballantyne
Jasmine Brodie Fell
Seung Jin Lee
Alexandra (Alex) Menzies