7.30am sharp. As I put on my school jacket, I wonder what challenges I will face today. Will it be a new piece of knowledge? Maybe a new opportunity?
Or maybe I will just be overlooked as a low-decile public school student once again. To the public, just a waste-of-time kid, probably no talent, under-average grades, nothing special.
Little do they know I am a regional netball rep, I was selected for a University of Auckland Liggins Scholarship and I have won top school awards.
Does society care about my achievements though? I don't think so. Because if I'm not wearing the uniform of a high-decile college, people will not see me as that high-achieving student with the potential to go far.
Well, I can say right now I am learning among future politicians, doctors, and scientists. We will all go far in life, because I know we have just as much potential as any student at a decile 9 or 10 school.
As low-decile students I believe we achieve higher overall because we are not expected to achieve much. People find it unusual to see a low-decile girl at university or to even have wonderful personal qualities.
High-decile students have everyday support from their families to study hard in order to go to university, but at a low-decile school like ours we come from different backgrounds, some extremely difficult.
Not everyone has enough support, but we survive and I believe the students who don't have much backing actually develop great qualities for the future.
We learn that life is hard and we are not born equal. We also learn to be tolerant and to see people's personal qualities rather than what they do or have. We may not all end up in university or have a high-profile job but we will have the qualities to be an all-round great person.
As a junior student I see the individual talent and hard work shine through in many areas of school life. I see our senior leaders organising events for the school, I see students studying hard in the library and I see many girls singing, dancing, playing sports and showcasing their skills.
I see the huge effort our girls put in to fundraise for school teams and I see the sisterhood of seniors going the extra mile to help out and include juniors.
When the public drive past our school what do they see? They probably see some students in non-regulation jumpers, maybe the odd person with wrong shoes, but that doesn't affect our brains and individual talent, does it?
The public on the outside can be judgmental, thinking we don't have brains just because we go to a local decile 3 school. But inside the gates it's a different story.
We see the real talent and success the public miss. So take a look, think about the rest of us that are not in high-decile schools. We're still here even if you don't know us and still punching above our weight everyday to make our mark and be seen by the world outside our low-decile area.
Maraia Toloi, Year 10, Kelston Girls' CollegeBy Maraia Toloi