8 April 2008
The Deputy Head Girl of St Catherine’s College, Maddie Dai (17), is one of only two New Zealand recipients of the prestigious United World Colleges Scholarship.
After a rigorous selection process, Maddie, who attends St Benedict’s Church, Khandallah, was chosen and will leave New Zealand in September to begin another two years schooling at Li Po Chun United World College in Hong Kong. Entry involved writing an essay, a weekend of workshops, including tree-planting, a semi-formal dinner and an interview by a panel which turned out to be a lively discussion on a range of subjects including the state of democracy in the world today. At all times, Maddie was being watched and assessed by the selection panel to see how she handled a variety of different situations, including the rainy and windy tree-planting session.
The United World Colleges were founded in 1962 by German educationalist Kurt Hahn, based on the premise that a greater degree of understanding, tolerance and a move towards world peace could be achieved if highly motivated and intelligent young people could be brought together in a multicultural learning environment.
Many UWC graduates have gone on to become leaders in their own right, with their experience opening doors to many educational, social and political opportunities.
Now in her final year at St Catherine’s College, Maddie lives life to the full in all college and extra-curricular activities. She completed Year 13 English and history last year, achieving excellence in her NCEA examinations, as well as passing her NCEA Level Two with excellence.
This year she is studying art, French, statistics, classics, RE and English (again, but only because she loves it so much!). Maddie is a keen and talented debater. She also participates in several sports, with her particular strength being soccer. This year she is playing for Miramar United women’s team. Maddie also shows a deep commitment to social justice issues and is an active member of Caritas, organising fundraising and raising student awareness of Caritas projects.
Her diversity of talent will stand her in good stead for the demands of life at Li Po Chun College, where students are expected to study a broad range of subjects towards the International Baccalaureate, as well as maintaining a programme of sport and community service.