I’ve grown so much as a musician during my time at ACG and my confidence has grown immensely. I’ve loved being part of the school bands and doing performances with different people. Music studies have definitely been a highlight, along with all the amazing supportive and caring friends I’ve made.
A $5000 scholarship to the University of Canterbury was music to the ears of ACG Strathallan alumna Caitlin White.
Not only has it eased the financial strain of tertiary study, but more importantly it served as confirmation that her years of blood, sweat and tears have finally paid off.
“This scholarship means a lot to me. It is proof of what I’ve accomplished and how far I have come,” says Caitlin, who graduated from Strathallan at the end of last year.
One of just four music students across New Zealand to receive the prestigious Leigh and Judith Pownall Scholarship, the talented flautist has faced more than her share of hurdles.
“I struggled a lot during primary school due to my learning disorders and I was constantly made to feel unintelligent by my teachers and peers. I did poorly at school for a long time because I believed what they were saying, then for some reason I decided to prove them all wrong and started working really hard, studying for hours every day.”
The hard work continued when Caitlin moved to ACG Strathallan in Year 11, and the awards started coming thick and fast – first in IGCSE Music and second in IGCSE Geography in Year 11, first in AS Music and second in AS Classical Studies in Year 12, and first in A2 Music and A2 Classical Studies in Year 13, just to name a few. The scholarship has been the icing on the cake.
“To some people it may not mean that much, but to me it’s a reminder that all my hard work was worth it and that I’ve finally proven wrong all those people who doubted me.”
Caitlin will soon head to Christchurch to begin a Bachelor of Music majoring in Performance, excited to build on the excellent foundation laid during her three years at ACG Strathallan.
“I’ve grown so much as a musician during my time at ACG and my confidence has grown immensely. I’ve loved being part of the school bands and doing performances with different people. Music studies have definitely been a highlight, along with all the amazing supportive and caring friends I’ve made. They will be friends for life.
“Now I can’t wait to move to a new city and have the chance to perform with different people and different ensembles, and I can’t wait to meet my teachers and learn more about music.”
Caitlin’s music teachers have been a constant source of inspiration and have played a starring role in shaping her future.
“When I first started learning the flute, I had the most amazing teacher who never made me feel stupid and created a safe and happy environment for me. My ACG Strathallan music teacher, Mr Mckay, has also been very supportive. I have grown so much as a musician under his teaching. He has given me confidence in my abilities and has been such a good role model for me for my future career in music.
“All my music teachers have been phenomenal in providing me with support and wisdom, and eventually I’d like to follow in their footsteps and become a music teacher myself.”
Music therapy is another field Caitlin is interested in pursuing, helping people with mental disabilities and illnesses through music.
“I think I’d be quite good at that because music helped me a lot with my learning disorders – I’d love it to do the same for other people.”