When it comes to preparing for future success, recent graduate Sophia Ye is already well ahead of the curve.
The top scholar has earned a bevy of academic awards and accolades since joining ACG Parnell College as a Year 9 student in 2016 and taking the title of 2020 Cambridge Dux has been the icing on the cake.
“I’m honoured and grateful to have received this award. Especially during quite a strange year, it means a lot to see the effort I put in reflected in something.”
Sophia has a long history of academic excellence at ACG and has received numerous Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards including 2020 Top in NZ A-Level Biology; 2019 Top in NZ AS-Level Biology; and a phenomenal 2019 Top in World AS-Level History.
Outside the classroom, Sophia was recently awarded a silver medal in the 2020 Biology Olympiad. And as a sixteen-year-old, she represented New Zealand in the 2019 International Brain Bee, a neuroscience competition based on university and medical school course content where she placed fourth.
While the field of biology has become a passion for Sophia, she has found studying the entire Cambridge curriculum to be both a rewarding and thought-provoking experience.
“It was through taking biology at an IGCSE level that I discovered how much I loved it. However, I’ve enjoyed being able to explore the different subjects I’ve taken, and my teachers have really helped me with that.”
In addition to the in-depth subject knowledge the curriculum has provided, it has helped the motivated alumna to develop a wide range of learning competencies, including independent research expertise, self-management and critical thinking skills.
“A lesson I will be taking away from ACG is that it is more important to make mistakes and learn from them, rather than to constantly achieve perfection. One of the most important things I was taught is that what seems like a failure in the moment can be taken as an opportunity to grow, and I’m hoping I can apply that to other areas of my life as well.”
Quick to give back to the school that had given her so much, Sophia was a Prefect in 2020, worked as a student Library Monitor since Year 9, and helped run the Middle School Science Club. She was also involved in the Primary School with Buddy Reading and Cultural Club activities and was a backstage member of numerous school productions.
Although she has now left ACG Parnell College, she takes a portfolio of fond memories with her.
“A highlight from my time at ACG has been the incredible friendships I’ve found over the years. It’s the smaller, everyday moments that have stuck with me, and they have definitely made those memories brighter.”
With plans to study medicine, Sophia is interested in the opportunities neuroscience offers, intending to incorporate this field within her future career. However, the new undergrad is confident that ACG has prepared her well for the rigours of university.
“I’ve learnt to set high targets for myself and become more disciplined and self-motivated in working towards those. I think the work ethic and drive to learn that has been instilled in me will help make the transition to tertiary study a lot less overwhelming.”
Having just begun her studies in biomedical sciences at the University of Auckland, the focussed teen is looking forward to the challenges, and deeper subject focus tertiary education will bring.
“I’m excited to immerse myself in new experiences, meet new people and make new memories. I’m hoping to make the most of my first year, and I would like to be able to look back at 2021 and say I am proud of where I am.”
And with her legacy of academic success, Sophia is well placed to offer the following advice to ACG Parnell students.
“Find the fun in what you are learning – it makes it much easier when you feel like what you are doing is a choice rather than a chore. Another thing would be that it is incredibly important to take the time to recharge and look after yourself!”