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Ruby McSweeney – University of Otago bound

A University of Otago Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship has proven to be a welcome yardstick for ACG Tauranga’s 2020 Dux recipient and Head Prefect Ruby McSweeney.


Established to celebrate student excellence, the scholarship is unique among entrance scholarships because recipients are selected at the Vice-Chancellor’s discretion. In addition to providing financial support, the scholarship has boosted Ruby’s confidence, setting her up for success in the next stage of her learning journey.

“It can be hard to know where you stand among students nationwide, but receiving this scholarship showed me that I’m doing well, my hard work is paying off, and that ACG is setting us up well for the next steps of our lives,” says Ruby.

This year Ruby will complete her first year of health science with hopes to a pathway into medicine.

“At this stage, I’m keen to specialise as a surgeon. I’m particularly interested in neurology, oncology and orthopaedics. I’m really excited about what I’ve chosen to study and can’t wait to get started, although I know it will be a lot of hard work.”

However, thanks to her years at ACG Tauranga, Ruby is quietly confident she is well equipped to deal with any tertiary study challenges.

“I think ACG has done a really good job of setting me up for university. I have learnt how to manage a varied workload and they have guided me through study techniques, so I know how to study most efficiently. Many people don’t learn this until they are a few years into their university studies!

“Talking to my friends from the year above, they have all done extremely well in their first year of university after transitioning from ACG, so I would like to think that I am prepared in terms of the level of study required.”

The dedicated student and award-winning surf lifesaver is also excited about life outside of the lecture hall.

“The student life in Dunedin is great, and the surf is excellent too. I’ve already joined a swim club down there and have lots of friends who also do surf lifesaving, so I’ll have plenty of people to train with.

“I’ve been accepted into the Arana College halls of residence, which is extremely exciting. Arana is a very balanced college in terms of placing high focus on both academics and sports. It will be awesome to be surrounded by so many students who are also aiming high so they can push me to do my best.”

Ruby’s desire to “aim high” was expertly nurtured at ACG, along with other invaluable qualities like resilience, perseverance, and making the most of all that life offers.

“I was extremely fortunate to have so many inspirational teachers while at ACG Tauranga, who not only taught their subjects well but taught us how to be good people. I learnt to make the most of the opportunities given.

“Being the 2020 Head Prefect was a massive highlight, it was an interesting year, but it was a great experience and taught me so much. I think the lessons I learnt being a leader during difficult times has taught me resilience, which will be invaluable as I go on to follow my dream of becoming a doctor.”