When January rolled around and Te Ao Leach hadn't heard if she'd been successful in getting a $5000 scholarship, she carried on with her goal of making it through university debt-free suing other means.
But just last week, the organisers of the Beverley Anaru Memorial Scholarships rang wondering why she hadn't responded to the scholarship presentation invitation.
It seems somewhere along the way, an email saying she was successful got lost.
But it was a much welcome surprise for the 20-year-old Auckland University student from Rotorua.
"It was such a cool way to find out."
Leach was one of six recipients named at a special ceremony at St Faiths Church at Ohinemutu today.
Also successful in receiving the scholarships this year were Georgina-Louise Retikaukau, Kiriwaitingi Rei, Tiriana Anaru, Ashley Douglas-Kingi and Tipene James.
The scholarships are administered through the Geyser Foundation and were started with a $200,000 donation from Beverley Anaru's husband of 57 years, Pita Anaru.
Pita Anaru told the Rotorua Daily Post he visited his late wife's grave most days and kept her informed about her legacy.
"I go up and talk to her and tell her about them. I tell her how we are going and what we are planning to achieve."
Beverley Anaru was a skilled and passionate educationalist who gave more than 60 years of service to education.
Her career spanned teaching, management, governance and advisory roles - both nationally and internationally.
"Her work ethic, professionalism and passion for education were renowned in the local community, as was her commitment to seeing young Māori succeed through education," Pita Anaru said.
Beverley Anaru worked as an education consultant for the Ngati Whakaue Education Endowment Trust Board and was awarded a Queen's Service Medal in 1995. She died in 2013.
Geyser Foundation chairman Kierin Irvine said the foundation was honoured to manage the scholarships on behalf of the Anaru whānau.
The fund provides scholarships to Te Arawa descendants studying at NZQA Level 4 or above.
A total of 32 scholarships with a combined value of $175,000 have been awarded since 2016.
Meanwhile, Leach said the scholarship was a welcome addition to help her adjust to the realities of living in the real world and would help towards her goal of making it through five years of university studies in Auckland debt-free.
She's heading into her third year of her conjoint Bachelor in Commerce and Law and is also working two internships to help pay her way.
"I'm trying my hardest to seek grants and seize opportunities for scholarships as well as working during summer to meet my goal."
Once she finishes university, Leach wants to use her skills to help people but she was keeping her options open about specific career paths.
"I definitely just want to come back and help the iwi. I have noticed the injustices Māori have within the justice system and I want to help them as well. I just want to come back with all the knowledge I have to help others reach their potential."
Spending her primary school years at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o te Koutu, Leach went on to Rotorua Girls' High School where she was named dux and deputy head girl in her final year.
The talented kapa haka performer and basketball player has a string of awards and scholarship wins under her belt.
Rotorua Girls' High deputy principal Aramoana Mohi-Maxwell said Leach was "an amazing and absolutely stunning" young woman.
She said her strong family support and knowledge of who she was as Māori had helped shape her into being a driven and successful student.
Mohi-Maxwell, who had taught Leach at both primary and secondary levels, said she was not only talented at everything she turned her hand to, she was also humble.
"There is nothing she can't do and do well. She's an awesome role model and I just adore her."