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Celebrating our year 12 IB Scholars

19 June 2020

Wellington’s IB Scholars’ Programme is not just a traditional academic one, but awarded to those who embody what it means to be a Wellington scholar. While success in the academic, sporting and/or arts spheres is certainly important, it’s not the end of the story. To earn this title, scholars have had to show that they possess the right attitude and strength of character to look beyond their immediate educational goals, always remaining motivated to make the most of new opportunities and give back to the Wellington community. The following testimonies from our current year 12 IB Scholars give an idea of exactly what it means to be a Wellington scholar. The pupils occupying these positions understand the importance and value of what they are doing, and what they plan to do in the future.

Thoughts on being selected as an IB Scholars

Serena: I was ecstatic. I feel like it’s a great privilege to represent the College and ourselves in this highly respected way. We’re all pupils who love being at Wellington and we all want to contribute to College life as much as possible, and this is a very welcome recognition of that mentality.

Owen: It was great to know that the College is watching and recognises the effort and progress of each pupil. It makes me proud to know that I’ve been singled out like this and it’s definitely a motivating factor to keep doing well.

Mats: I was, and still am, honoured. In most schools, pupils apply to be scholars so I definitely feel proud to know that our teachers have paid such attention to our individual achievements and successes and chose us to be scholars accordingly.

Thoughts on the role itself

Mats: It’s a big responsibility but providing a good example to others not only helps the younger pupils mature more quickly, I think it does the same for me, because I have to carry myself in a particular way. It’s a responsibility but it’s also a choice – and making choices in a responsible manner is what growing up is all about.

Tom: There isn’t a long list of set guidelines and regulations you need to follow as a scholar, it’s more about understanding the general attitude you have to embody and ensuring you fit the image of the honour that was given to you. There’s room for interpretation and room to make the role your own and I think that’s an important part of being a scholar. We are supposed to be taking the initiative and taking the responsibility to improve ourselves and others in whatever way works best for us.

Owen: It’s more pressure, but in a positive way of course. We have to think more carefully about how we act and what effect our actions will have on others. It’s a motivating factor rather than an unwelcome source of pressure.

Becoming role models for their younger peers

Serena: We need to maintain our overall level of academic achievement and our high standard of behaviour, which I’m already finding to be a real spur to do more. If people are looking up to me I want to be worthy of that, so I want to do what I can to show them that they can do whatever they feel is important for themselves and for others.

Jasper: We’re trying to set an example that will inspire those in the younger years to work harder, because you don’t just apply for this position and coach yourself on specific criteria, you have to be picked out for having the right overall attitude and approach to school life in general. There’s definitely some pressure that goes with that, but it’s positive pressure in a motivational sense, not in a scary or crushing sense.

Tom: I’d go so far as to say that having the title is itself a positive motivational factor too. There’s a lot going on in the final years of secondary education, and if you need another reason to keep going, keep giving your best, keep taking another step further, living up to the title is a great motivator to do that. If we can do that, we can pass on that legacy to our peers.

Mats: As well as setting an example, we have tried as much as possible to be sources of more direct help. Although the pandemic has made this trickier, we still mentor and tutor our peers where we can. Recently we held a revision guidance session on Zoom with about 30 of our peers in year 11, where we shared our experiences, our strategies and answers to anything that they wanted to know. Despite exams being cancelled this year, hopefully our advice was still useful and they can apply it to future academic years and tests.

Some words of advice for potential future IB Scholars

Mats: Consider how you present yourself and make sure you do yourself proud. Academic success is very important of course, but so is your attitude to school life, to making the most of opportunities that come your way and ensuring that you are a positive influence on your peers. You can be the greatest student in the world but if you are immature and goofing around, you’re not going to be taken seriously at all. You earn the part, but you have to act the part as well.

Owen: Time management is absolutely crucial. Don’t leave your work to the day before the deadline, you just can’t produce your best work that way. There’s no such thing as starting too early!

Serena: Never procrastinate! Putting off important tasks never ends well, so you have to find whatever it is that motivates you to get going and use it. There’s nothing worse than knowing that you could have produced better work if you’d put more time into it. On the flipside, starting early sets you up to get on a roll and make a success of whatever’s in front of you. My other piece of advice is to make sure you don’t neglect your health even when you’ve got a lot on your plate. Don’t skip meals, don’t stay up all night, treat your body well and your brain will help you out when you need it! Tom: Don’t focus on getting the title, simply focus on doing your best and letting your personal and academic example speak for itself. If you get the title, that’s a great achievement, but ultimately you should be more interested in establishing your long-term life goals and going after them with everything you have.  

2019-2021 IB Scholars

Amelia Hoogewerf
Kyle Matkovic
Rose Seet
Mats Ceyssens
Jasper Gao
Maggie Huang
Francesca Elementi
Owen Chau
Nicholas Ho
Tom Larsen-Disney
Serena Wang
Isabella Chen

Congratulations to our IB Scholars who will no doubt continue to set a fantastic example in the year to come. As well as the IB Scholars’ Programme, Wellington does also offer separate fee-reduction-based scholarships. For more information on the interview process for this type of scholarship, email either Mr McCallum at or Ms Chadwick at