• Dougal Burden
  • John Mottram and Kate Lee at the science forum.
  • Students at the science forum.

A Continuing Upward Trend

The number of scholarships gained at Takapuna Grammar School has risen yet again.

41 students have been awarded a total of 61 scholarships, across 19 subjects. There is a growing trend for our students to value this opportunity to test their abilities and knowledge in this most demanding arena. Leading the way was 2017 Dux, Katherine Jacobs, and the Proxime Accessit, Harvey Merton, who both won scholarships in all of their five subjects, with Harvey also scoring an Outstanding in Biology. Close behind with four scholarships was 2017 Summa cum laude, Mitchell Cuthbert and Aoke Jiang with three.

Dougal Burden also gained three, with one being an Outstanding for History. Halim Hoskin, Ella Johnson, Emilly Fan, Seongsuh (Annabel) Kim, and Poppy Ross each gained two.

In departmental terms, the Visual Arts were once again highly successful with 12 across Paint, Photography and Design. In Science, the total for Physics, Chemistry and Biology was 14, while there were seven in Geography, including 2 at Outstanding, five in English and in Mathematics, four in Media Studies and three in Physical Education.

The Technology Department are justifiable proud of two of their students, Tessa Wishart and Woosik Yoon who both gained scholarships while only being in Year 12. Other scholarships awarded to Year 12 students were in English for Jessica Cheung, Geography, Amanda Dai, and in Media Studies, Loretta Raich. Also doing an accelerated course, Year 12 student, Louise Wigram, who won the prize for First in Year 13 Painting, and whose work was on the cover of the School Yearbook, won a scholarship in Painting.

A unique experience 

The Rotary National Science and Technology Forum is an annual 14-day long event that provides a unique opportunity for Year 13 students across the nation to explore the varied career pathways of Science.

I was chosen to attend, along with classmate, John Mottram and we spent the last couple weeks of the summer holidays residing at the University of Auckland’s O’Rorke Hall, learning about Science. Llittle did we know that it was to be much more than just “a nerd camp”, but a place of ceaseless laughter, firm friendships and a brilliant bonding experience.

O’Rorke Hall was a very promising and comfortable facility, with numerous communal areas such as the common rooms on each floor, outdoor BBQ picnic area and the infamous volleyball court -- which soon became the epicentre of lively competition between the teams. It was a fascinating insight into halls of residence living at uni.

Each morning began at 6:30 am, with a large whiteboard presenting the detailed schedule of the day ahead. This involved the frantic juggling of participating in an intense early morning activity such as aerobics, devouring breakfast and washing up -- all before the 8:40 am assemble. 

The six coloured teams rotated through 14 different modules from 9 am - 12 pm, and after a fulfilling lunch, the second module ran from 2 pm - 5 pm. A particularly enticing module was an engineering one, where robot cars came to “life” and escaped from a maze through Boolean logic. 

For John, “The Forum was much more than I had imagined. One of the highlights was the Chemistry module where we conducted lots of illegal experiments not possible to be done at school…”   

An impressive dinner was always served after the lengthy modules. However, this was still not the last agenda of the day. There was always a different evening activity planned, some of which included technology visits, recreational activities or the volleyball competitions. 

Not only were the modules a great indicator of the Forum’s success, but it was also the lifelong friendships that I have formed between like-minded and thriving individuals. The Forum was a magical experience where the initial 174 nationwide strangers became, in the end, a tight-knit family immersed in a rich atmosphere of team spirit, shared success and camaraderie. 

Choosing to attend the Forum was probably the best decision made in my life so far. It really brought out each and every student’s passion and fascination for Science. It was a purely unforgettable experience. I am still missing it a lot. 

By Kate Lee


Off to Oxford

Local scholar, Dougal Burden, has been offered a place at Oxford, to read Law. Only 225 students world-wide were offered places from an initial list of 1805 applicants. He was one of the 657 interviewed via Skype in early December by two law professors.  Dougal found the two 30 minute sessions, designed to identify speed of thought processes, analytical ability and clarity of oral expression of ideas, “pretty challenging and intense but fascinating and intriguing, too.” His years in school debating teams and as a member of MUNA teams prepared him well for this challenge as well as his experiences as a school prefect, and Rowing Club captain.

Dougal has always been an outstanding student, gaining Excellence Certificate Endorsement at all three levels of the NCEA. In Year 13 he gained 91 credits at Excellence and four of his five subjects were also endorsed at Excellence. He has also just been awarded three Scholarships; in English and Classical Studies and an Outstanding in History.

Dougal has lived here since he was four, emigrating with his family from the UK. His mother, Morag, owns Devonport Flowers, his Dad, Simon, is a business analyst with Vodafone. Along with his twin brother, Hamish, Dougal and his family have been well regarded members of the local community for many years. The whole TGS school community are also proud of Dougal knowing that he fully deserves his place at such a prestigious institution.


Issue 85 March 2018