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ACG Founders’ Scholarship selectors face tough choice

The ACG Founders' Scholarship (valued at up to $75,000) has allowed several ACG graduates to see their tertiary study dreams become a reality. And while the 2021 recipient can look towards a bright future, the selection panel faces a challenging decision thanks to a record number of exceptional applicants this year.
ACG Founders' Scholarship 2019 recipient Sidhaarth Kumar is currently studying at Balliol College, University of Oxford

ACG Schools is well known for recognising and fostering academic excellence - but a Founders’ Scholarship launched by the Group in 2018 has given ACG’s top students an even greater incentive to strive.

Each year one exceptional domestic student from ACG Parnell College, ACG Sunderland, ACG Strathallan or ACG Tauranga is awarded a life-changing scholarship. Valued at up to $75,000 over three years, this accolade not only provides a generous boost to a university study fund but additionally imparts a vote of confidence from some of the country’s most respected educators.

According to ACG Schools CEO Clarence van der Wel, the prestigious scholarship has opened up a wealth of opportunities for recipients, not least the chance to study internationally in a top global university.

“The ACG Founders’ Scholarship provides an opportunity for deserving students to live out their dreams,” says Mr van der Wel. “It allows them to explore programmes of study, or to attend acclaimed overseas universities that may not have been financially possible without this support.”

With previous winners all studying overseas – including 2019 recipient Sidhaarth Kumar who has just begun his second year of a Master of Physics (MPhys) programme at the University of Oxford – dreams of pursuing a degree at a world-class UK university have become an exciting reality.

The transformative ACG Founders’ Scholarship is open to any ACG secondary school student in New Zealand who plans to commence a course of university study the following year. And while competition for the scholarship is always intense, with such a prize on offer, it’s hardly surprising that student interest is at an all-time high.

Having received a record number of “outstanding applications” across the four ACG schools, the selection panel will face even more of a challenge than usual when choosing the 2021 recipient.

“The standard of applicants this year is extremely high, so it is going to be incredibly difficult to choose a final candidate,” confirms Mr van der Wel. “Since we introduced the scholarship four years ago, we have interviewed some outstanding students, and this year looks to be no different.

"It is always extremely gratifying to speak with our applicants about their future study plans, aspirations, and career goals. Our previous recipients are enjoying considerable success at universities in Australia and the UK, and I have great confidence that our 2021 winner will follow in their footsteps.”

There is much to be considered. Obviously, strong scholastic performance is a prerequisite, but there are many other attributes that are taken into account.

Qualities like integrity, leadership, boldness of vision and work ethic all play a powerful role, not just in the selection of a recipient but also in their future success.

“This scholarship aims to highlight exceptional accomplishment across all areas of school life. We are looking to support young people who will genuinely make a difference in their chosen career paths – they are our future leaders.”

Established in honour of all those who helped create ACG Schools more than 25 years ago, the ACG Founders’ Scholarship will have a far-reaching impact on whichever fortunate student is awarded the prize.

The 2021 ACG Founders’ Scholarship winner will be announced at the recipient’s school prizegiving ceremony.

ACG Schools CEO Clarence van der Wel