Since first walking through the gates of ACG Strathallan, there isn’t a great deal that Zac Perkin hasn’t achieved.
During his time at the school, he has received the Top Scholar award in Years 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12, and has excelled in numerous mathematics, engineering and computer coding competitions. In addition, he has been an integral member of the school’s jazz and concert bands while also representing Strathallan on both the cricket and rugby fields, captaining the First XV Rugby team this year.
When you combine this with his roles on the student prefect team and as McLaren House leader, the talented high achiever has experienced a very busy and varied 2021, embracing every opportunity that came his way.
As a result, it’s not surprising that Zac collected the coveted Best All Rounder award at Strathallan’s prizegiving ceremony yesterday. And with a nod to his outstanding academic accomplishments, the deserving recipient was further recognised as school Dux.
Plus, if that wasn’t enough, his year has been capped off with a prestigious University of Auckland Top Achiever Scholarship, paving the way for a successful transition into tertiary engineering studies.
“It took a while for it to register after I got the email, but once it sunk in, I was really pleased, as were my family,” says Zac. “Having the time and effort I’d put into both my schooling and the application pay off was extremely satisfying.”
Awarded to ‘exceptional students who have excellent academic achievement and demonstrated leadership potential’, the scholarship provides a year of catered accommodation in a Hall of Residence, along with $4000 paid in two lump sums throughout the year.
“Receiving this scholarship gives me a semblance of financial freedom from accommodation costs, as well as giving me geographical proximity to the university itself. Overall it makes my first year at university easier and allows me to focus on my studies.”
Enrolled in a Bachelor of Engineering, Zac hopes to eventually specialise in mechatronics – the design and development of smart processes and products.
“In the short term, I’m planning on finding a job in the mechatronics field to gain experience. But my long-term aspiration is to run my own company and try to tackle the problems we face with advanced technology that I’ve (hopefully) played a part in developing.”
The lessons he learnt at ACG Strathallan will stand him in good stead, particularly the adage ‘don’t just work hard, but work smart too’.
“It means don’t overcomplicate things. I think this one is really important as it demonstrates that you need to understand what you’re doing and try to figure out the best and easiest way to do it to get the result you want. So it’s a great way to look at life and whatever we may have to do along the way.”
Zac believes the firm foundations laid by ACG Strathallan’s outstanding team of teachers will prove invaluable.
“All the teachers I’ve had have a real passion and deep understanding of their subjects. This has allowed me to excel and develop my knowledge beyond what was required of me. They were able to present their lessons in ways I could understand, which was great when discussing more advanced topics within each subject. It helped me a great deal to achieve the results I did.”
But exceptional academic results are not all that will remain etched on Zac’s memory as he moves into the next step of his educational journey.
“The trips I got to go on will always be a fond memory for me, from the Spain trip in Year 11 to this year’s trip with the school’s jazz band. I loved going places and having fun while still learning stuff along the way. I also really enjoyed playing for the school rugby team. Despite a few injuries, it was always fun to play the game with lots of my mates.”
By providing all the ingredients for success, ACG Strathallan has been the ideal launchpad, but it’s vital to make the most of it, as Zac points out.
“The education I received at Strathallan helped me to excel because of the work I put in – there’s no magical reward if you don’t put in the work! The teachers provided everything they could to make sure we were able to succeed to the best of our abilities; we just had to take advantage of that.”