Taranaki scholars up with best in country

01:03, Feb 14 2013
Alan Ansell
BRIGHT SPARK: Alan Ansell, 15, of New Plymouth Boys' High School was top scholar in New Zealand last year for Latin and statistics and modelling. He also gained scholarships in classics and calculus.

Taranaki schools have achieved impressive results in last year's New Zealand scholarship exams.

New Plymouth Girls' High School achieved 45 scholarship awards, including seven outstanding awards, and New Plymouth Boys' High School achieved 15 scholarship awards, including four oustanding awards.

NPGHS principal Jenny Ellis was blown away by the "exceptional" results.

"We have done stunningly well," she said.

"When compared to others, particularly of the same decile as us, we're right up there."

She said the results were a product of the capability, will and passion of the students to learn, and competent teaching staff who gave up their personal time to provide tutoring.


NPBHS student Alan Ansell, 15, achieved four scholarship awards, including maths with statistics, Latin, classics and calculus.

His outstanding awards in statistics and modelling and Latin placed him top in the country.

Alan said he had thought he had a good chance of topping Latin, with only one other person achieving a scholarship in the country, but there was a lot more competition in statistics, with 411 scholarships achieved, including 63 outstanding awards.

"It was pretty surprising to get stats, out of so many people," Alan said.

He said he liked how Latin allowed him to understand such an old civilisation.

Being two years younger than his classmates did not faze him.

"I don't find it particularly strange. I've been with this year group for years so I don't feel out of place."

This year he was aiming for a premier award, which comprised at least five or more scholarships with at least three at "outstanding" level.

Alan was modest about his chances of being named the school's dux this year.

"There's some pretty bright people coming through."

Alan was thinking about studying towards a degree combining a Bachelor of Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts at Auckland or Canterbury University in 2014.

NPBHS headmaster Michael McMenamin was thrilled with his student's success.

"I'm incredibly proud of this young man.

"Top in the country in two subjects - that hasn't happened in my time."

Last year, 7974 students participated in New Zealand scholarship exams, with 2344 students achieving a scholarship. These students are scheduled to receive almost $3.7 million towards their further study over the next three years.

Inglewood High School achieved six scholarship awards and St Mary's Diocesan one.

Taranaki Daily News