Academic Achievement

MAGS in top 6 schools in NZ after record results in NCEA and Scholarship

Mount Albert Grammar School is one of the top six schools in New Zealand after students attained a record number of Outstanding Scholarships, and the highest ever pass rate in NCEA Level 2 following the 2016 examinations.

Excellence endorsements for Level 2 and Level 3 students were also at record levels. Our total of 94 Scholarships included 11 at Outstanding level (the top 1% in each subject), the most Outstanding Scholarships we have ever gained in what represents the pinnacle of academic achievement for secondary students. Scholarships were attained across 21 subjects, also the the most ever, and were spread among 58 students.

Outstanding Scholars

Among the highest achievers were our Boy and Girl Dux of 2016, Henry Russell and Theresa Boyd, and Boy Proxime Accessit Elliot Paton-Simpson, all named as NZQA Outstanding Scholars – among the top 60 in the country. Henry earned six Scholarships, including one Outstanding, Theresa earned four Scholarships, including two Outstanding, and Elliot earned three Scholarships, including two Outstanding. The award provides each of them with $5000 per year for three years toward their tertiary studies.

In addition, Theresa came first in New Zealand in Biology, and Wanli Cheng, who earned three Scholarships, including one Outstanding, came first in Chinese.

In NCEA, 95% of students who sat Level 2 passed, our highest rate ever. Merit endorsements were won by 36%, while 19.7% of Level 2 students passed with Excellence, also a record number.

Our pass rates of 88% for Level 1 students and 84.7% for Level 3 were also pleasing and in line with past years. Of Level 1 students who passed, 42.5% did so with Merit, and 28% with Excellence. Of Level 3, 34% passed with Merit and 19.2% with Excellence, another record result at this demanding level. MAGS’ results are above the national average and other Decile 7 schools, and in many cases also higher than than Decile 8-10 schools (see table below).

Outstanding Scholar

Outstanding Scholar

Theresa Boyd
Outstanding Scholar
1st in Biology

1st in Chinese

MAGSNational AverageDecile 4-7 AverageDecile 8-10 Average
NCEA Pass Rates
Level 188.1%85.1%84.6%91.4%
Level 294.9%88.9%88.0%93.1%
Level 384.7%82.1%79.9%88.1%
University Entrance67.7%61.3%57.4%75.5%
Merit Endorsements
Level 142.5%35.1%33.5%41.3%
Level 236.0%27.0%24.6%34.1%
Level 334.1%28.5%25.9%34.8%
Excellence Endorsements
Level 128.1%19.8%16.2%28.3%
Level 219.7%15.8%13.1%23.0%
Level 319.2%14.7%13.1%18.8%

In Scholarship, our Mathematics students were once again dominant, gaining 27 Calculus Scholarships, including 3 Outstanding, and 13 in Statistics, also with 3 Outstanding – a total of 40 across the Department.

Sincere congratulations to our students on their achievements; acknowledgement is made of the academic ability, preparation and perseverance required of them to reach such degrees of success.

Scholarships were achieved Accounting, Biology, Calculus, Chemistry, Chinese, Classical Studies, Dance, Design, Drama, Earth & Space Science, Economics, English, French, Geography, History, Japanese, Media Studies, Physical Education/Health, Physics, Statistics and Te Reo Maori.

Outstanding Scholarships were achieved in Biology, Calculus, Chinese, Earth & Space Science, English, Media Studies and Statistics.

Particular acknowledgement is made of the following students who achieved multiple Scholarship success:

Theresa Boyd
4 Scholarships,
2 Outstanding

Wanli Cheng
3 Scholarships,
1 Outstanding

3 Scholarships

3 Scholarships

3 Scholarships

3 Scholarships

4 Scholarships

Elliot Paton-Simpson
3 Scholarships,
2 Outstanding

3 Scholarships

Henry Russell
6 Scholarships,
1 Outstanding

These achievements also provide great satisfaction to the dedicated teaching staff who develop Scholarship programmes to support, coach and direct our students in their Scholarship pursuits, and also the many staff who have contributed to the academic development of these students across their time at Mount Albert Grammar School.

The following staff are thanked for the extra time and effort they put in to preparing their Scholarship students through 2016: Ms Sarah Hayes and Ms Grace Leaso (Accounting), Ms Robina Nisha (Biology), Mr Michael Walden and Mr Paul McKinney (Calculus), Ms Alayna Pulham (Chemistry), Ms Eva Liu (Chinese), the Classics Department (Classical Studies), Ms Jacqui Cesan (Dance), Ms Daniella Aleh (Design), Dr Lilicherie McGregor (Drama), Mr Sam Dockery (Earth & Space Science), Ms Michelle Farquhar (Economics), Ms Elliot Lavey (English), Ms Helen Selaries (French), Mr Elliot Moka and Mr Colin Adam (Geography), Ms Shameen Hayat and Mr Joseph Payne (History), Ms Reina Mollgaard (Japanese), Mr Simon Allen (Media Studies), Ms Jess Wilson (Physical Education/Health), Ms Paula Calver (Physics), Mr Anzar Chida (Statistics), Ms Waimirirangi Paul (Te Reo Maori).

Click here for the full list of 2016 Scholarship achievers

Further Academic Success

Maths competition success

Logan Allomes

Sahil Bhatiani

Arique Chowdhury

Miriam Leonhardt

Richard Li

Joshua Norman

Lucas Peterson

James You

Selina Zhang

Mount Albert Grammar School’s mathematics students won a number of prizes in competitions in 2017.

In the Australian Maths Competition, which thousands of students enter from all over the world, Logan Allomes and Selina Zhang were Prizewinners for coming in the top 0.5%. High Distinction Awards were given to Angus Edwards, Victor Kong, Lucas Peterson, Xander Pritchard, Nikita Privalov and Matthew Somerville.

In the national Casio Senior Maths Competition, five students placed in the top 100 – Sahil Bhatiani, Arique Chowdhury, Miriam Leonhardt, Richard Li and Joshua Norman.

In the Auckland Maths Olympiad in May Richard Li came 4th overall in the competitive Senior Division.

Organisers of the inaugural Calcex Competition, which was intended for schools in East Auckland, may have regretted allowing MAGS to enter after we won the trophy. Our team of Logan Allomes, Richard Li, Lucas Peterson and James You managed to sneak past St Kentigern College, Pakuranga College and Macleans College in the last minute to come first.

MAGS sent two Year 9 and two Year 10 teams to the Mathex competition in Auckland in August (pictured above left). The Year 9 A team scored 95 points while the B team achieved a perfect score of 100.

Albertians win Microsoft Imagine Cup

Nilesh Magan

Two Albertians are on their way to Seattle to represent New Zealand in the World Finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup after winning the New Zealand competition.

Nilesh Magan and Eric Liu won the 2017 event with a friend after designing a website that enables students to work together and discuss exams at university level.

Eric and Nilesh both completed their studies at MAGS in 2014, and are both now studying Engineering at the University of Auckland. Eric is majoring in Biomedical Engineering and Nilesh is studying Computer Systems Engineering.

Nilesh was one of 16 former MAGS students to be announced on the Dean’s Honours List for Engineering at the end of 2016.

Eric Liu

The Imagine Cup is a global competition run by Microsoft “aimed at empowering the next generation of computer science students to team up and use their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology to create applications that shape how we live, work and play”. Every year tens of thousands of students from around the world compete for cash, travel and prizes, and for the honour of taking home the World Imagine Cup.

Te Uranga Royal awarded Russell McVeagh Scholarship

Prefect Te Uranga Royal was granted a sought-after Russell McVeagh School Leavers Scholarship to support her tertiary law studies from 2017.

Te Uranga was one of 300 applicants from around New Zealand. Eighty were interviewed and only 10 granted a Scholarship. The award will provide Te Uranga with financial support throughout her degree, mentoring by the firm’s partners, a summer clerk position in her penultimate year of study, and an extra welcome payment should she accept a graduate position with the company.

Ms Pagen Plaizier of Russell McVeagh said the firm looked for applicants who were “excellent all-rounders.” Strong academic results were important, and also involvement in community and leadership initiatives, sport and other extra-curricular activities.

Te Uranga was a high achieving student, played in MAGS’ Senior A and Premier Netball teams for five years, went on an AFS exchange to Italy for six months, and was a member of MAGS’ Te Puna o Wairaka whanau unit for two years. She is studying Law at Victoria University.

If you would like information about applying for a Russell McVeagh Scholarship next year, please contact Ms Pagen Plaizier at the firm:

Sisilia Teu receives inaugural KPMG Scholarship

Sisilia Teu with, from left, Ms Kim Jarrett of KPMG, MAGS Head of Commerce Ms Sarah Hayes and Headmaster Mr Patrick Drumm.

Top Commerce student Sisilia Teu received a surprise award from the KPMG executive she accompanied on the 2016 Shadow a Leader Day, Ms Kim Jarrett.

Ms Jarrett, a Tax Partner, National Communities Team Chairman and Diversity & Inclusion leader at KPMG, was so impressed with the Year 13 student during their day together in July that she recommended Sisilia as the inaugural recipient of a new KPMG Tertiary Scholarship. The scholarship provides financial support during Sisilia’s tertiary study, mentoring by Ms Jarrett, and holiday work at KPMG.

Sisilia is studying at Auckland University, undertaking a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting and Information Science.

“I could tell from the questions Sisilia asked during our day together that she was a very smart young woman,” said Ms Jarrett. “She also handled herself very well in meetings with partners – she’s got the X factor and we are always on the lookout for people with talent to hopefully join our team.”

Sisilia said she was extremely grateful for the award, and excited by the opportunity it offered. “This is such a great start to my university studies, and to the rest of my life,” said Sisila.

Head of Commerce Ms Sarah Hayes said she knew Sisilia was destined for a great career when she began teaching her in Year 11. “She works hard, gets top results and is just a good person – she has values and integrity that are already marking her out among future employers.”

Isobel Welsford-Ackroyd wins scholarship to Germany

Isobel Welsford-Ackroyd will spend a month in Germany in April 2017 after winning a prestigious ILEP Scholarship (International Languages Exchanges and Pathways).

Isobel was one of only six students from around New Zealand selected for scholarship out of 50 who went to the initial one-on-one interviews. Isobel’s 20-minute interview was conducted entirely in German. From there she was one of 16 chosen to go on to a two-day immersion programme at the Goethe Institute in Wellington, from which the six winners were selected.

The scholarship enables Isobel to spend one to two weeks staying with a German family and attending the local high school, and the remaining time touring the country with other scholarship winners.

After completing Year 13 at MAGS Isobel plans to do a conjoint degree in Law and German, majoring in Linguistics.

She thanked MAGS’ Head of German, Mr Warwick Gibbs, for his “excellent” teaching.

Daphney Erlano 1st in international Chinese contest

Year 13 student Daphney Erlano won an international online competition in Chinese language for the second time in three years.

Daphney gained the most points out of more than 350,000 competitors from around the world taking part in the annual Language Perfect competition over 10 days in 2016. She spent all her spare time outside of school answering questions which tested vocabulary in words and sentences.

As a Year 11 student she came top in the world with 14,000 points; this year she needed 21,000 points to achieve the win as more young people around the world are now competing.

Daphney, who is Filipina by birth, is now studying a conjoint degree in Commerce and Chinese at Auckland University.

Geography teams scoop top places

MAGS’ Year 13 and Year 11 Geography teams both won their respective Auckland competitions in August 2016.

The Year 13 team of Stephen Fountain, Angela Liu, Tom Butler and Michael Barlow gained the top score in the Images section, and a perfect score in Current Events. Teacher in charge Ms Donna Hobbs said that in a tie-break playoff the MAGS’ students depth of knowledge shone through with a convincing 5-1 victory.

The Year 11 team of Hugh Malcolm, Harrison Zheng and James Inkson dominated each category of Current Events, NZ Geography, Map Skills and 3D Modelling to win by a decisive 15 points.