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Tessa Cloutman – a future leader

A University of Otago Leaders of Tomorrow scholarship has recognised the outstanding leadership capabilities of ACG Strathallan alumna Tessa Cloutman.


The hardworking 17-year-old has just begun her Bachelor of Science double majoring in Genetics and Biochemistry – and she says the $6000 scholarship will go a long way towards covering her Otago halls of residence fees.

“The scholarship makes living away from home much easier financially and also recognises the effort I put into both my academics and leadership during my time at ACG Strathallan,” says Tessa.

The sought after scholarship is awarded to students who have demonstrated all-round ability and who exhibit leadership potential – and Tessa certainly ticks both those boxes. With a string of awards earned throughout her time at school (including academic awards for biology and chemistry, Principal awards, and a bronze Duke of Edinburgh award), Tessa has thrown herself wholeheartedly into all that Strathallan offers.

“One of my highlights was our team training hike doing the Tongariro crossing. I also had the opportunity to attend the 2019 and 2020 leadership camps with the Student Council and prefect teams, and I left both feeling excited for the years ahead.”

By taking on a range of leadership and public speaking opportunities, Tessa’s confidence skyrocketed.

“ACG Strathallan taught me about the importance of pushing myself out of my comfort zone and saying yes to opportunities despite them appearing daunting.”

These and the many other attributes developed during her time at Strathallan have prepared Tessa well for tertiary study.

“My teachers were always incredibly supportive and helped me find effective study and note taking techniques which I’ll be able to apply in my university lectures. The environment at ACG Strathallan also encouraged me to develop other valuable skills such as time management.

“Along with these life skills, I’m lucky to also be taking away the friendships I’ve formed over my seven years at ACG as well as the strong relationships I’ve forged with my teachers. With 2020 being a challenging year for all of us, we wouldn’t have been able to get through online lessons and our final year of Cambridge exams without such incredible teachers and Strathallan’s strong support system.”

And now, Tessa can’t wait to immerse herself into all that Otago University and student life in Dunedin offers.

“I’m excited about gaining more independence by living in a new environment and meeting new people – and I can’t wait to take the skills and knowledge I’ve learnt and apply them to my upcoming labs and lectures in the subjects I’m passionate about. There are so many different careers which interest me in medicine, science and teaching, and I’m excited to explore them all while I’m at university.”


For additional profiles and articles on the success of our students’ at ACG Strathallan, please visit the following: Double scholarship provides winning start and University of Cambridge – a dream come true for aspiring physicist