Tiffany Ho is one of the youngest in year nine at Kristin school, but she says this hasn’t held her back from performing to the highest level she can. She’s a very high academic achiever with a dream to be a medical inventor.
By the time Tiffany was seven her reading age was already 13+ and her writing was used as examples for year six students to learn. She says that Kristin has given her countless GATE programs, one of her favourites being AI (Advanced Inquiry) which sharpened her critical thinking.
Since 2011, Tiffany has received 81 awards/achievements from school and other organisations. 61 of of these are academic awards. She's received a four year academic excellence scholarship to support her school fees at Kristin. Last year she received excellence awards for 10 out of 12 subjects at school – English, Humanities, Science, Mathematics, Spanish, Music, Hard-materials technology, Drama, Art and Dance. She was also the runner up for academic excellence.
Tiffany also enjoys music and has represented Kristin in competitions like the Best Recital by a Female Choir, and the Adjudicator’s Award in Big Sing. They competed in the national finale in August this year.
"My dream has almost always been to be a medical inventor, and someday get into Harvard University,” explained Tiffany in her AIMES Junior Excellence Award application. "I remember deciding when I was just eight that I would do everything I could to help people who suffered from illness, one inspiration being my anaphylactic sister, whose allergies stopped her from many things in life. Going through my journey in life, I have always kept the same dream – of giving hope to the incurable or sick, or simply the people who need a little encouragement to keep going."
“One of my dreams is to be accepted into Harvard University. I made up my mind after hearing about the magical land of university… and research funds… something that I could make true! And with both my parents being lecturers in science, being immersed in science everyday, it made sense for me to go on as a scientist. Early on, I saw how science made lives better – my sister’s life saved by EpiPens, my cat’s life saved by human diabetes medicines.
"I have always looked to help others in any small way I can – a classmate who had just joined Kristin the year before, who I discovered had depression and was self-harming. After reading a particularly depressing caption of hers on social media, I posted what was to be the start of a poem I would then write for her. For some reason, I genuinely wanted to help her – I knew what it was like to be stuck with depression, and I searched for something I could do. At this point, I was remembering the power words could have – remembering the way words could truly move the audience while I was debating, or the poems of gratitude for my teachers, and even when the school recognised me officially as a writer, as someone who was gifted in weaving powerful stories. After I had finished writing the piece, I printed it out and gave it to her. Later, I noticed that the cuts on her wrist had stopped – they were healing! Later I had a chance to present the poem at Auckland Writer’s festival. As I stood on stage, facing the thousands of people in that auditorium, I remembered to tell them the message that came with it. I remember saying: “...remember that there IS still a life to live for”, before I began. I hope that I touched at least one person with that message – if I did, it’s all worthwhile. While I was up there, sharing my piece, clicks came from all around (if you in the audience were impressed at something in the poem, you shared it by clicking your fingers). Afterward, people I didn’t know came up to thank me, and my English teacher was crying. Emotion and thanks from everyone seemed to engulf me, I was staggered at the sheer scale of inspiration something as simple as writing could have.
"I want to continue with that movement, to keep giving hope to the people who need it the most. And I know now that words have the power to do that – and now I want to take it a step further, and enroll in a course to give me the tools to continue on this journey."
Tiffany plans to use the AIMES Junior Excellence Awards funds to take her a step closer to her dream, of being a medical inventor and to use writing to help others. She is considering two options. Option one is attending The University of Hong Kong Summer Institute – a 7 day programme designed for S4-S5 secondary school students to explore in medical and health sciences professions. Option two is the Centre for Talented Youth, John Hopkins University – two online courses, Life Science and Crafting the Essay.
Tiffany Ho receives the Junior Excellence Award from the North Harbour Club – sponsored by Library Lane and NZ Force Construction – including a cash grant of $3,000.
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