Schol­arly ex­cel­lence

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By ROSE CAW­LEY

CATHERINE Zheng thought her per­fect In­ter­na­tional Bac­calau­re­ate score was a prac­ti­cal joke.

A flood of con­grat­u­la­tory mes­sages first alerted the 18-year-old to the re­sult. She ner­vously laughed it off, un­til her friends re­ferred her to the school web­site. ‘‘There it was. ‘‘Then I thought maybe it was a re­ally elab­o­rate prac­ti­cal joke.

‘‘My friends and school had to be prank­ing me, the re­sults weren’t out un­til the next day,’’ the Hills­bor­ough teenager says.

But fi­nally, the news sank in.

Only 0.3 per cent of stu­dents re­ceive 45/45 world­wide and this year just four stu­dents in New Zealand achieved the re­sult.

Two were from St Cuth­bert’s.

Zheng, who sat 13 ex­ams at the end of last year, says it was a long road to suc­cess.

The two-year di­ploma in­cludes ex­ams in six sub­jects, a 4000-word es­say and a com­mu­nity project.

‘‘IB is about hav­ing com­mit­ment even when things get re­ally hard, when you are one year down but you still have the en­tire sec­ond year to do,’’ Zheng says.

She also sat seven NZQA schol­ar­ship ex­ams.

Zheng’s class­mate Cerys Chau also se­cured a per­fect score in IB.

‘‘It opens a lot of doors for you. All the uni­ver­si­ties want you if you have a 45,’’ Chau says.

The teach­ers and her fel­low stu­dents were vi­tal to gain­ing the top re­sult, the Ep­som girl says.

‘‘We pe­ti­tioned to­gether to get a longer study leave.

‘‘We had so much con­tent to re­vise, we needed longer.

‘‘That is the kind of co­hort we were – ded­i­cated to more study.’’

The Uni­ver­sity of Syd­ney has of­fered places to both girls to study a dual de­gree in medicine.

Chau is also wait­ing to hear if she has been ac­cepted into the medicine pro­gramme at Monash Uni­ver­sity in Mel­bourne.

Photo: ROSE CAW­LEY

Bright fu­ture: St Cuth­bert’s Col­lege stu­dents Cerys Chau, 18, and Catherine Zheng, 18, both re­ceived per­fect scores of 45 in the In­ter­na­tional Bac­calau­re­ate qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

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