Amelie Davidson is not afraid of hard work. In fact, last year while in Year 10, she opted to take all three of the available advanced subjects – and sit her Cambridge IGCSE in Spanish too.
Despite being a year younger than many of her counterparts, Amelie excelled, earning an Outstanding Cambridge Learner award for coming Top in New Zealand in IGCSE Spanish, and achieving an A* (90% and above) in science, an A (80% and above) in global perspectives and a B (70% and above) in maths.
“I’d like to think I did quite well in my exams. To receive an Outstanding Cambridge Learner award was really surprising, but also really reassuring,” says the dedicated teen.
Amelie started at ACG Strathallan halfway through Year 7. Born in England, she spent nine years of her childhood living in Spain, before her family moved back to New Zealand in 2016.
“Although I lived in Spain, Spanish is still my second language. I found it quite challenging preparing for the Cambridge assessment because I felt like there was a lot of pressure on me to do really well and get full marks. I completely understand how if you speak a language it would seem obvious that you’d get an easy 100%, but I think people forget that it’s really easy to make silly mistakes or just panic and have a blank.”
Another challenge was the fact that Amelie was not part of the actual IGCSE Spanish class.
“I took normal Year 10 Spanish which doesn’t cover all the same stuff, so I was given all the study material that the IGCSE class was given and just revised it at home. I actually really enjoyed it. As challenging as it was, it was also a big highlight to have the opportunity to study in such a unique way.”
Having plenty of support from her ACG Strathallan teachers certainly helped.
“Everyone involved with my exams was wonderful, and my other subject teachers were really understanding when I had to skip classes and go to my Spanish exams. They all kept up with how I was feeling, which I really appreciated.”
It was a lot of hard work, but according to Amelie, it was well worth the sacrifice.
“It taught me that hard work really does pay off and to always try your best, because your best is all people can ask for.”
Now in Year 11, this philosophy is firmly embedded, and Amelie continues to strive for excellence in her chosen subjects – art, music, biology, and business – as well as the compulsory English language and literature. Life beyond the classroom at Strathallan is proving equally rewarding.
“I’m really excited to take part in loads of events this year and I’m thinking about applying for leadership roles for next year. I think it would be really cool to be able to represent the school as a prefect, deputy house leader or house leader.
“I try to take part in many things. I do karate and participate in all the bands I can, such as concert, jazz, production, and chamber ensemble. I really enjoy the music department at ACG Strathallan – it’s probably the place I spend most of my time outside of my actual classes. There’s just such a nice environment there and everyone is so lovely. It’s hard not to want to take part in musical things!”