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Top in World student's NASA ambitions

Hengyang Leo Li

Hailing from Henan, China, Hengyang (Leo) Li is in Year 12 at ACG Sunderland in Henderson, Auckland.

Leo decided to come to New Zealand for the senior years of his education to see the world and make new friends. He’s thrown himself into school and Kiwi life – volunteering at ACG Sunderland’s after-school care programme, playing alongside his friends in a school band, participating in House proiects and even heading to South Africa for a Science field trip.

Outside school he skis, participates in karate, surfing and painting and works part-time in a number of restaurants.

“I reckon that being part of group activities helps with your confidence. As well as gaining new experiences, they enable you to be in touch with different people and societies, which can help you to make more friends.”

Leo says he chose ACG Sunderland for many reasons.

“ACG Schools are very well known in Auckland because of the high-quality academic support and the Cambridge International system, which is recognised by most of the universities around the world. I chose Sunderland because of its teacher to student ratio, as it is a small school. Personally I know every single one of the students in the school, and the staff help me with any questions I have, which has resulted in my academic achievements.”

A shy student who’s naturally “not very talkative”, Leo says the school’s friendly and relaxing environment has built up his confidence and had a big influence on him. His English in particular has improved markedly from ‘ungraded’ to a B or C.

“That huge jump is really hard to achieve, and without my friends and teachers' support, I would never be able to do that.”

With a love of Physics – “formulae are the basis of everything” – Leo’s next big dream is to become an aerospace engineer for NASA, after studying Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London.

Good luck, Leo, we can’t wait to follow your progress!

Leo came Top in the World in IGCSE Design & Technology in 2019