A strong cohort of scholarship applicants had Napier Boys' High School confident they would do well, but just how well they did exceeded all expectations.
The school was awarded 51 scholarships. It was the most the school has ever received and the most of any school in Hawke's Bay this year.
Principal Matt Bertram said it was an "unexpected result", but one that highlighted both their staff and students' dedication.
"We knew they were a really talented year group. They've been very strong right throughout," Bertram said, adding he expected to hit around the 30 mark.
However, he also believed the results from all schools in the region meant the region was punching above its weight compared to the rest of New Zealand.
For the past three years, NBHS has worked with Write that Essay, an academic writing programme, something which Bertram believes has helped their boys immensely.
"It shows the benefit of the teachers understanding what is required from scholarship and some of the workshops that have been provided professionally for them.
"What was pleasing was the scholarships came from a wider range of subjects than have traditionally been."
Eighteen scholarships were awarded to students who sat geography at the school.
Eleven scholarships went to Year 12 students, who are now in their final year at High School.
Bertram says it creates an "impetus" for the following year.
"We do work actively with those students who are scholarship applicants and manage their programmes so that they can engage with scholarship, provided their level three university entrance is not at risk."
Mihnea Vlad sat three scholarship exams in chemistry, physics and geography last year. He was in Year 12.
However, despite sitting the exams prematurely, it paid off as he passed two and was awarded the 2018 top subject scholarship award in geography.
The award went to two students in Hawke's Bay. Taradale High School student Dayoon Song received the award for Japanese.
In doing so, he earned $6500 from the government and $750 from his school.
"It is quite exciting. It was definitely a new experience for me and a massive learning curve, but I have no regrets at all and really enjoyed the experience overall," Vlad said.
This year he hopes to sit them again, plus biology, statistics and calculus.
Vlad plans to study medicine at Otago University and believes the exams put him in good stead to do so.
More than 9300 students entered New Zealand Scholarship last year across 35 subjects. Of those, 2415 students were awarded one or more scholarship.
In total, 189 scholarships were awarded to students at 15 schools around Hawke's Bay.
Woodford House Dux Madeleine Fenn received an Outstanding Scholar Award - the only recipient to represent a Hawke's Bay school.
2018 Scholarship numbers for Hawke's Bay:
Taradale High School: 14
Napier Boys' High School: 51
Napier Girls' High School: 34
Sacred Heart College (Napier): 2
Havelock North High School: 24
Iona College: 10
Woodford House: 19
St John's College (Hastings): 8
Hastings Girls' High School: 3
Karamu High School: 3
Lindisfarne College: 15
Te Aute College: 1
Central Hawkes Bay College: 1
Hukarere College: 1
Hastings Christian School: 3