A year of hard work pays off

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Waitaki Girls’ High School dux Serena Choie considers herself to be a deep thinker – an attribute that will serve her well on her chosen study path.
It was with shock and surprise she reacted to being named dux for 2017 at the school’s senior prizegiving last week.
“In the last few days, there were a lot of names going around and everyone was speculating about who it might be … my name got mentioned quite a few times but I was trying not to be too confident.”
Serena (18) said the accolade had given her a boost.
“I feel a little bit more confident in myself because beforehand … it was quite hard to be able to tell people all of the grades you get because you were comparing each other, and that kind of made it a bit difficult.”
With only a short time until she walks out of the school gates for the last time as a pupil, Serena has been reflecting on her time at Waitaki Girls’.
She said the 2017 school year had been full of highlights.
“It’s been quite good. I really enjoyed it this year. Everyone has been very supportive and everyone has been very helpful.
“I’ve worked hard this year and I’m really glad that that has paid off.”
Serena will head south to the University of Otago next year to start law and commerce studies, majoring in finance.
“Law, I think, will be a very challenging subject. I love a challenge. You have to think, and I think a lot … I think it will be a good subject to take up.”
She said she had “really enjoyed” studying calculus this year, and planned to make use of that subject in her commerce and financial studies.
Serena had some sound advice for pupils who strived for excellence.
“Work hard and stay focused, and don’t get distracted, but also relax and take the time to be with your friends. Don’t dedicate your life to study because it can be quite stressful if you do.”
Mignon du Preez was named proxime accessit to dux.
Connie Searle was named head girl and Renata Burnett deputy head girl for 2018.

Other award recipients included: Jasmine Hunter (senior sports dux); Rebekah Middlemiss (senior cultural dux); Izzy Hurst (all-round excellence); Mikayla Scarlet, Georgie Laurenson, Emma Stevenson (Eunice Brown Trust Scholarship); Jack Tempero (contribution to Maori culture); Lini Kaufana (Pasifika achievement and cultural contribution); Cheyenne Coels (Mana Pounamu Tukana); Taylor Barrow (Masonic Charitable Trust tertiary award); Mignon du Preez (Altrusa tertiary award); Henri Fotofili, Samantha Wilson, Xiayou Chen, Tayla Ludemann (Otago University scholarship); Lilly Dowling (Otago University Scholarship, leadership and inspiration); Alena Reading (Otago Polytechnic Scholarship); Katelyn Naylor (Victoria University Scholarship); Courtney Forbes (Futures Trust Scholarship); Katelyn Borrie (Iris Romans Scholarship); Alycia Kinns (year 11 cup for academic excellence); Bronwen Ardouin (year 12 trophy for academic excellence).