Diocesan School student aces history exam with 100 per cent mark

Joanna Li and Nicola Chang are having fun celebrating their academic success.


Joanna Li and Nicola Chang are having fun celebrating their academic success.

Joanna Li is still coming to grips with scoring 40 out of 40 in her scholarship history exam.

NZQA New Zealand Scholarship results were announced this week, with two Diocesan School students topping New Zealand in their subjects.

Li scored a perfect 100 per cent mark in her history scholarship exam. Her class contemporary Nicola Chang received the top New Zealand scholarship result for design and visual communication.

“To be honest I couldn’t believe my mark, I was really shocked as I didn’t expect to do that well,” Li said.

NZQA’s New Zealand Scholarship is designed to recognise and financially reward the very best students who go on to tertiary study. It is not a qualification.

Dio deputy principal and scholarships manager Margaret Van Meeuwen said Li, one of Diocesan’s year 12 school prefects this year, is no stranger to success, having achieved scholarly excellence in previous years.

In addition to her full marks in scholarship history Li also earned scholarships in English and geography.

When she called to tell her mother of her scholarship success Li said “there was heaps of happy screaming down the phone both ways”.

Van Meeuwen said Li was talented across a spectrum of subjects, and was the winner of the Sunday Star Times Secondary School short story competition this year.

The theme of Li’s history scholarship study was ‘Turning points in history’.

“I really enjoyed the history scholarship study – I was able to look at specific turning points in time and how these changed history,” Li said.

“It was a really new way of approaching the subject and I was completely drained after my exam.”

Chang said being named New Zealand’s top scholar for design and visual communication was “very unexpected”.

She was so amazed she asked one of her teachers for evidence.

Chang said that it had been challenging balancing her internal assessment study and the scholarship commitment.

“You have to take scholarship study very seriously to do well, I did a lot of studying overnight,” she said.

Both students said their success in a large part was as a result of support from their parents and teachers.

“Our amazing teachers gave up their time early mornings and lunch times to help us with our studies,” Li said.

Li plans to attend either Victoria or Auckland University to study arts and law, or perhaps study in Australia. Chang hopes to attend Auckland University or AUT and study architecture.

Van Meeuwen said

Li’s 40/40 mark was the pinnacle of scholarly excellence.

Diocesan students received 61 scholarships, with 17 of those in history.

Students entered for New Zealand Scholarship are assessed on their ability to demonstrate a high-level of critical thinking and integrate and apply knowledge, skills, understanding and ideas to complex situations.