Yiyan (Sherry) Wang, from Beijing, China is in Year 13 at ACG Sunderland in Henderson, Auckland. A top student, and captain and assistant coach of the school badminton team, she joined ACG Sunderland after completing middle school at the Affiliated High School of Peking University, one of the top five high schools in Beijing.
Sherry says her time at ACG Sunderland has transformed her from a student scared to answer questions in class to one who participates fully in discussions with students and teachers, and even in activities outside the classroom.
“Respect is what I like the most about ACG Sunderland. Within such a respectful environment, I’ve become a more positive person, and my studying is more effective and efficient. I’ve changed a lot – from studying when I was asked to, to feeling like I want to. My parents have told me they are glad to see the changes.”
Her English has improved enormously, something she puts down to respectful teachers, friendly students and interesting activities, which combine to create the right environment to learn the language.
Sherry plays badminton at a high level and has taken on the responsibility of assistant badminton coach, leading the school to take top spot in the West Auckland competition. Despite the success she says she has learnt more from the kindness of her teammates than from the sport itself. She’s also developed a love of walking by exploring the beaches, mountains and other natural surrounds of her adopted country.
“Sometimes I walk with my parents and sometimes with my classmates or their family. Walking lets me communicate with others in an easy way and shortens the distance between us,” she says.
Now in her final year of school after four years with ACG Sunderland, on graduation Sherry hopes to study a combination of Engineering and Design at a UK university when she leaves school. She has the grades, having come top in the school in Design and Technology with a score of 94%. She also scored A grades in AS Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics.
Principal Nathan Villars said Sherry had contributed a lot to school life.
“Sherry is an extremely hard working, motivated young woman who is achieving both inside and outside the classroom with a commitment to her studies and her sport, too. I wish her well with her desire to study at Oxford University next year.”
Overall, she says it’s been a wonderful four years at ACG Sunderland.
“My family decided to send me abroad to study in a more open-minded study environment,” she explains. “Looking back, I really feel that I am lucky – ACG has provided more than I could have imagined.”