There's no point in slacking off, it's hard work which gets the best results, Dannevirke High School's 2017 Dux Lauren Carr says.
This has been a super achievement year for the Dannevirke High School head girl, but she told the Dannevirke News being named Dux tops it all.
"Achieving academic success is about having good work habits, something I've been aware of since I was younger. Named as Dux is the finale of real hard yakka," she said.
Lauren has a fascination for learning, but she told fellow students in her valedictory speech, "you can all achieve."
"Dannevirke High School has lots of examples of kids coming through the ranks and I'll be keeping an eye out," she said.
Lauren's advice to other students is to look for opportunities and to take them.
"Always work hard, but find a good balance and keep your friends close. Make the most of high school because five years goes real fast." Lauren received the top prizes for physics, biology, English and statistics, a second in chemistry, as well performance excellence in music and two scholarships to Otago University.
And with the Labour Government announcing a free first year of tertiary study, Lauren is thrilled.
"It's great. I'm stoked. It will really help because I won't have to fork out lots of money," she said.
Heading to Otago to study health science, Lauren is planning to become a doctor, but in the meantime, she left New Zealand yesterday bound for Saskatchewan in Canada, the start of a six-week trip which includes time in Windsor, Colorado and Los Palmos in Los Angeles, her prize for winning the New Zealand Lions International Young Speech Maker national competition.
A top musician Lauren and her band Hymns and Hers, were placed 6th out of 700 in the New Zealand 2016 Rock Quest final. Lauren then went on to win the Wairarapa Rock Quest soloist/duo section this year, so she's thrilled the school principal she's staying with in Saskatchewan is also a musician.
"I will be involved in Christmas concerts and a New Year tour to Alberta," she said.
While she's excited by the trip and with a family Christmas held on Saturday, Lauren admits she will miss her family.
"I'm a bit of a mum's girl. I was the first kid to cry on school camp. But I am 18 now," she said.
Her first flight overseas, Lauren said she was a bit terrified. "Constantly I'm described as all brains and no sense," she said. "I'll be by myself and I reckon people will be looking and saying, 'what is this 12-year-old doing:' and 'where is her mother'?"
But wherever she goes in the future, Lauren said she will be proud to say she came from Dannevirke High School.
"It's diverse, colourful and really tight-knit," she said. "It's smaller than most other schools, but it's really cool and gives you opportunities to be involved in our community and at a national level. DHS punches above its weight and it needs to continue to put the focus on the academics."
Mum Leeza said the six-week trip to Canada and the United States will be a great experience for her daughter.
"What a wonderful way for her to end some great years," she said.