Tukituki MP Anna Lorck says making sure students felt they had the ability to reach their potential was the starting point for her career in politics.
She was one of several new Labour MPs to give her maiden speech in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, in which she spoke of her own schooling experience and being told she was "mediocre".
Lorck first ran for the electorate in 2014 after being galvanised by a "political" prizegiving speech by the Principal of Frimley School, and now Hastings councillor, Malcolm Dixon.
"He talked about all that was going wrong in our education system under a regime of standardising our children, and the detrimental impact this was having by taking his staff away from doing the most important job of all – having the time to teach.
"He called on us, as parents to challenge the Government."
She said his speech left her feeling upset, angry and disappointed for not being more aware of what was going on in children's education.
"For I knew was it was like to be told you were only as good as average."
Growing up in Waipukurau, Lorck said her own education "came to an abrupt end midway through my seventh form year" after she was singled out in front of her peers, not for her academic potential but for being "mediocre".
"While the intent may have been to somehow get me to focus harder on my grades, it had the very opposite effect.
"I went home, believing I was not good enough to go to university, and that my best option now was to leave school and get a job."
Now, three general elections from when she first decided to run, she said the past seven years had been a "rollercoaster of a ride".
She said she was now ready for the hard work.
"I hope to demonstrate [...] that my reputation and record will stand as a hard-working constituent MP who is far from mediocre."