A $5000 scholarship recognising academic excellence is the perfect kick start to 2022 university life for ACG Tauranga's Brooke Robinson.
The hard-working 17-year-old has been awarded the Wellington Tangiwai Scholarship (School Leaver Scholarship for Excellence), offered to the top school leaver applicants enrolling in a bachelor degree programme at Victoria University. For Brooke, it's been a significant boost to both her confidence and her finances, not to mention well-deserved validation of her years of effort.
"I felt very excited and honoured to receive this scholarship. It was a bit of shock, but I also feel proud that all the work I've done over the past few years has paid off," she says.
"The scholarship is a great motivator for me to start 2022 off well and really delve deep into my courses. It's made me very excited to try new things outside of my comfort zone, and maybe some courses I'm interested in that I wouldn't originally have had the chance to do. I've also been working for the past year, so it's made me feel a bit more confident regarding financial independence!"
Enrolled to do a Bachelor of Commerce conjoint with a Bachelor of Design, and following in her brother's footsteps into popular Hall of Residence Weir House, Brooke can't wait to start on this next chapter of her life.
"There is always some fear about the unknown, but mostly, it's excitement and anticipation for the future! The thing I'm looking forward to most is probably the independence. I think it's great I get to take specific courses I'm interested in and have full responsibility for my work and studies. I'm also excited about meeting new people and exploring a new city."
But Brooke hasn't always been this self-assured and confident.
"I can remember starting ACG Tauranga as a Year 8 student and being so scared and shy, and not thinking I was smart at all. However, ACG has played a huge part in my development, helping me reach my potential and understand that people can display 'intelligence' in different ways. The trick is discovering what it is you're passionate about and really developing your skills."
Brooke's ACG teachers have played an integral part in this process.
"They definitely helped me achieve my best. It wasn't until Year 11, doing my first set of Cambridge IGCSE exams, that I started gaining confidence in my ability, and I absolutely have my teachers to thank for that. Mrs Webb, Mrs Buxton, Ms Gawler, Miss Wood and Mr Paul have all been very present at every stage of my learning and, I owe them a lot, not only for my grades but for the passion I discovered for certain subjects."
While her six years at ACG Tauranga have laid strong foundations for success, Brooke says there is one specific lesson that particularly stands out.
"As cliché as it may sound, ACG taught me never to give up. It's a very easy thing to do, of course, taking the easy way out. But believe in yourself, and you'll see that progress, and eventual achievement is much more gratifying. It's startling, looking back on the things I have accomplished and seeing how far I've come from that insecure Year 8 girl I once was. You can definitely achieve much more than you ever thought if you believe in your own abilities."