Two perfect in international exam
The results are out and an Auckland school lays claim to having the only two students in the country to have achieved a perfect score in the International Baccalaureate Diploma for 2012.
Auckland International College pupils Phillip Zhang and Jia Wen Choo are unmatched in New Zealand in gaining the full 45 points in the globally-recognised qualification.
A perfect score is only achieved by 0.3 per cent of IB diploma students worldwide.
The astounding result has seen Mr Zhang offered a scholarship at Sydney University where he will work towards a conjoint degree in commerce and law.
"I think it will train my analytical ability as well as my communication skills," he says of his studies.
"It will help me with what I want to achieve. In the long term the degree will allow me to work in the non-profit sector or the commercial sector."
The 18-year-old has his eyes on a job in the financial field but not because he dreams of making wads of cash.
"There is a big future in micro-financing; it is potentially a solution to poverty."
This strong sense of social responsibility is instilled in the students of the Blockhouse Bay-based college as part of their course work.
Principal Carolyn Solomon says she wants her students to have "smart minds and good hearts".
In addition to his schoolwork Mr Zhang was the founding editor of the school newspaper, a member of the college debating team and he led the school's chapter of Habitat for Humanity in building homes for marginalised people in South Auckland.
The Epsom resident says the extra-curricular activities enhance his studies rather than detract from them.
"A lot of students at AIC would say doing those activities really help their studies, by combining real world problems with what you are learning in class. Those examples help students understand."
The International Baccalaureate Diploma is a two-year programme originally developed in the mid-1960s by a group of international educators.
The diploma is highly regarded not only because it promotes academic excellence but it also encourages students to be ambassadors for a better future.
About 20 schools in New Zealand offer the IB Diploma alongside NCEA.
Auckland International College is the only school that solely offers the IB Diploma as its curriculum.
Ms Solomon says her top students are entering a new phase which will bring plenty of opportunities.
"Phillip and Jia Wen are launching into a world which is their oyster. The world has a great future for them."
Mr Zhang will be departing for Sydney this month, while Miss Choo has already taken a spot studying biology at St Anne's College, Oxford in the United Kingdom.