Talented artist wins coveted university scholarship

By Genevieve Helliwell

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When it comes to the visual arts, Otumoetai College student Diva Ford finds painting and sculpting as natural as breathing.

The talented 17-year-old has excelled at visual arts at school and been awarded a prestigious scholarship to the University of Auckland.

The scholarship, which she estimated to be worth more than $30,000, would cover her full tuition costs and compulsory fees for her three-year studies at the university's Elam School of Fine Arts, which she was accepted into on Tuesday.

College principal Dave Randell said it was one of the highest value scholarships a student at Otumoetai College had ever received.

At the school yesterday, Diva was organising final details of her NCEA portfolio assessments, which are due to be submitted early next week.

She told the Bay of Plenty Times she was still coming to terms with her scholarship success. "When I applied I was a bit sceptical because there are so many other talented people who have applied ... and when I found out I was really shocked," she said.

"I couldn't believe it. It's quite exciting because it means I won't have that pressure of tight finances. Fine Art is a lot of practical work and you do quite a bit of that work at home so this will take off the pressure for me to find a part-time job or work as much."

At school this year, the majority of Diva's classes revolved around the visual arts. She studied art history, art painting, art photography and art design.

"Art is something I've always done. My parents encouraged my brother, sister and I to be creative and I've always enjoyed it ... but there's a lot of hard work that goes into it."

"For painting, for example, you have to create three boards of work.

"On one board is 14 paintings, there's 10 on the second and about five on the third, then you have to do boards for photography and design as well so it's a lot of work."

This year Diva was also a member of the school's Creative Art Committee and a school representative on the Young Friends of the Gallery group.

She also enjoys music and plays guitar and ukulele "not that well".

College art teacher Sarah-Jane Smith said Diva was truly deserving of the scholarship.

"She's everything you would ever want in a student. She's extremely committed, very creative and a pleasure to teach.

"I'm very proud of her for achieving this success."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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