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News > ESF Chairman's Awards > Rapid fire questions with Armelle Donaldson (West Island School, Class of 2021)

Rapid fire questions with Armelle Donaldson (West Island School, Class of 2021)

Armelle Donaldson of West Island School has been awarded the Chairman's Award for Excellence and is now studying veterinary science at Massey University in New Zealand. 

Armelle has been awarded the Chairman’s Award for Excellence for attaining 44 points in the International Baccalaureate (#IB) Diploma examinations, and also the Chairman’s Award for Embodying the Spirit and Value of the School in 2021. She is now studying veterinary science at Massey University in New Zealand.

When asked about why Armelle was chosen to receive the award for embodying the spirit and values of the school, WIS Principal Chris Sammons said: "Armelle Donaldson is empathic, mindful, thoughtful and acts with sensitive conviction. She is an active listener who cares deeply about the whole school community and the well-being of others. Over the last few years, she has sent music quizzes and offered friendship to boost the morale of others.

After her exams, she has come into school to pass academic resources to support Year 12 students. She has taken a leading role in supporting students spiritually at school. She has taken a dynamic role in the WIS First Aid group, she has been described as an inspiration on the sports field when mentoring younger students in football, she has also encouraged other students to reach into the community and support those who are most vulnerable, for example, supporting Sunshine House and the YMCA Elderly home. Her commitment for others is authentic and people matter to her."
 

Q1: How did your ESF education set you up for success?

 As much as we groan at the word “reflect”, reflecting on mistakes was what propelled me forward. Our school implements an online system where students frequently reflect on exam results, CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) experiences, and teacher feedback. By being intentional in this process - considering my strengths and weaknesses, improved and learned skills - I was able to plan specific methods of improvement.
 

Q2: How did it feel to win the Chairman’s Awards?

I was surprised to be acknowledged after a prolonged period of hard work. In the 18 months of education during Covid-19, I felt increasingly burnt out, but weeping in a hole for the rest of IB was not an option. By the end of the exams, I was too dazed that everything was finally over to think about much else, let alone commendations and entering the world of university. Hence, the surprise.

 

Q3: What advice would you give to other ESF students who would look up to someone like you?

Live and enjoy life outside of academic study. The input of study hours is not directly proportional to achievement; it plateaus. Find your optimum work hours and style, and plan spaces of rest and fun in between. Don’t be slack but don’t overwork. When you make time for friends and family, recreational activities and hobbies, you’ll be more motivated to work and not burn out.

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