It's all thanks to mum, says high-achieving teen
5:30 AM Friday Mar 25, 2011When Ruby Porter found she had won a highly regarded scholarship, her first thoughts were about what it would mean to her mother - a woman she says has given her so much despite being a solo parent.
"My mum's my biggest influence," said Ruby. "She's given me so much, and I know this is a small way in which I can give back to her by making her proud of me."
The former Northcote College student is one of eight who have won $4000 scholarships from the NZ Education and Scholarship Trust, an independent group sponsored by business.
Trust chairman John Graham said the eight winners were selected from a high-calibre pool of 124 candidates who were nominated by 83 schools.
"The results achieved by the 2010 NZEST scholars were quite outstanding and the panel is amazed that each year the academic bar rises higher."
Ruby's principal, Vicki Barrie, said the school nominated her because of her "outstanding achievements".
Northcote College was "delighted" with the news of her success.
"Ruby is an exceptional young woman. She has a sharp intellect, is extraordinarily creative and has tenacious work habits," Ms Barrie said.
Ruby told the Herald that despite being school dux last year, being heavily involved in a writers' group and organising a fashion show, she was surprised to hear this week that she had won an NZEST scholarship.
"I was really shocked. I didn't think that I had the marks for it."
Those marks were five New Zealand Scholarships, including three outstanding passes in classical studies, English and painting.
Ruby said she owed her achievements to the encouragement of her mother, Linley, through the years.
"A lot of what I did well in were creative subjects and she's really developed that. She has heaps of prints of artworks around the house and she used to do a lot of art with me when I was younger.
"We read poetry to each other at night and she's always encouraged that side, but she's also encouraged the things she's not interested in, like the maths."
Ruby said her mother was "really over the moon" and had cooked the vegetarian teen a special dinner as a reward - a black pepper tofu dish.
The 17-year-old is studying fine arts/arts with a major in English or English writing at Auckland University. She plans to put her scholarship money into a savings account to help pay for her study later on.
Ruby hopes to go into something creative once she graduates.
"I'm really interested in art, writing and fashion design so a combination of, or one of, those three things."