Hellen D

2022 Dux and Outstanding Scholar Award Winner

Epsom Girls Grammar School 2022 Dux, Hellen Ding was awarded 4 Scholarships: Art History and Biology at Outstanding level, Calculus and Statistics. Hellen was also recognised as a 2022 Outstanding Scholar Award Winner by The New Zealand Qualifications Authority. This is a prestigious award with only 51 students across the country recognised in 2022. This year, Hellen is at Princeton studying towards a Bachelor of Arts and majoring in Economics and minoring in Art History and Computer Science. We caught up with Hellen for an interview:

What advice do you have for those in year 13 this year – who want to achieve at a high level?

To enjoy the things that you get to do. While it’s great to be motivated and want to do well in exams, it’s more important to really engage with what you’re being taught and to have fun with it. That way, you retain information better and it makes learning more organic and less stressful. Aside from that, I think it’s also important to make time for both school-work and extracurricular activities. Remember that this is not only your last year of high school but also one of your last years as an adolescent, so make it one you can look back on with fond memories and be proud of.

What experiences or moments are memorable for you on your learning journey at EGGS?

My most memorable experiences on my journey at EGGS have definitely been having the opportunity to participate in research-based internal assignments. I really enjoyed scouring the internet and the school library to research the suffragist Alice Paul for a history internal, as well as learning about CRISPR enabled gene drives for the 3.2 Biology internal.

In what ways have you ‘grown’ as a person during your time at EGGS?

I think that over my time at EGGS, I have grown to become more comfortable stepping outside of my comfort zone and trying out new things. With so many different clubs and events on offer at Epsom, I’ve learnt to leave my doubts at the door and just give things a go, because why not? Through this mentality I’ve discovered so many new interests such as slam poetry and debating.

Who have been your favourite teachers and why?

I’ve really enjoyed all my teachers across my subjects, but the two teachers that have made the most impact on me have been Mrs Waddell and Ms Grant. I loved how they would encourage students to ask questions and have fun with their learning.

What did you do over the summer?

I’ve mostly been catching up with friends and spending time with family. My highlight of my holidays so far has definitely been going down to my friend’s batch in Mount Maunganui to celebrate New Years. Aside from that, I’ve been spending time trying out hobbies that I haven’t been able to due to being so busy during the school year like learning French and the guitar.

What are you reading?

I’m currently reading Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ and an autobiography of the artist, Edward Hopper, fittingly named ‘Edward Hopper’.