Class Act 2019: Columba College

Meg Sycamore and Victoria Williamson are the 2019 Class Act recipients for Columba College.

Meg Sycamore

It is fortunate Meg Sycamore is finishing school this year.

The 18-year-old Columba College deputy head prefect is running out of room on her blazer for the stream of achievement badges she receives.

While she is slightly embarrassed by the issue, she is not abashed about her determination to give everything a go.

So much so, she has sung in choirs, participated in Stage Challenge, achieved excellence in NCEA and played in just about every sporting code offered at the school.

Over the years she has been a member of the cross-country, swimming, athletics, multisport, sevens, basketball, handball, touch and netball teams.

More recently, she has started specialising in touch and netball, and is competing at regional, national and international level.

In 2018, she competed at the Touch World Cup with the New Zealand under-18 girls team, and again this year with the New Zealand open women's team.

She is also a member of the inaugural New Zealand Warriors women's touch team playing in the NRL Touch Premiership across New Zealand and Australia.

On top of that, she is a member of the Netball South Beko team and the Dunedin under-19 A netball team, and attended the Netball New Zealand National Development Camp.

Ultimately, she hopes to play professional netball or touch rugby.

But recently she tore some ligaments in her ankle and ended up in a moon boot, which helped her realise she could not rely solely on sport as a career.

''Sport can only take you so far. I recently learned, an injury can end a sporting career without warning.''

So she is making plans to study law at the University of Otago, with the aim of becoming a sports lawyer, alongside playing as much sport as she can, for as long as possible.

Achievements: Deputy head prefect (2019); NCEA levels 1 and 2 with excellence; academic blues (2017, 18); major academic prizes in years 9-12; formal committee member (2018, 19); Young Enterprise team (2019); 8A and junior A touch teams coach (2017-19); best all-round sportswoman years 9-10 (2016), years 11-13 (2017); school sportsperson of the year (2018); touch sports blues (2015-18); swimming sports blues (2017, 18); netball sports blue (2018); senior A netball captain (2018, 19); senior A touch captain (2018, 19); NZ Secondary Schools Touch Championship gold medallist (2018); NZ Secondary Schools Touch Tournament team member 2016-18); NZ U18 girls touch team member playing in World Cup (2018), MVP (2018); NZ open women’s touch team member playing in World Cup (2019); NZ Warriors women’s touch team playing in the NRL Touch Premiership (2019); Beko League Netball South team (2018); South Island Secondary Schools Tournament team (2018); Dunedin U17 A netball team (2018); Dunedin U19 A netball team (2019); Netball NZ National Development Camp (2018, 19); Youth Olympics sevens  wider squad (2017, 18).

Role model: Silver Fern and Southern Steel netballer Gina Crampton.

Hopes for the future: To study law at the University of Otago.


Victoria Williamson
Victoria Williamson
Victoria Williamson

When Victoria Williamson first started violin lessons, she didn't have to look far for inspiration to practice.

''My mother started playing violin at the same time as I did, and my sister also plays. So it was us three violinists, all in the same house.

''It was always my mum's goal to have both of us play a musical instrument because it was something she regretted not doing when she was young.''

A decade later, the 17-year-old Columba College arts prefect is revelling in her musical success.

Victoria has already achieved grade 8 with distinction and an associate diploma in violin performance from the St Cecilia School of Music, and was this year selected as principal second violinist for the New Zealand Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra.

She is a member of the Dunedin Youth Orchestra, the Community Orchestra and the Columba College Orchestra.

In 2018, her ensemble won the Otago regional Chamber Music New Zealand Competition and the award for best composition, and went on to win national bronze awards at the New Zealand Chamber Music Competition in 2017 and 2018.

Like her mother, Victoria is now fostering a love of music in young people by teaching at Saturday Morning Music Classes.

Her keen musical ear also transposes into a flair for German, which she has studied since year 9.

Last year she was selected to participate in the Goethe Institut Deutscholympiade in Wellington, and in January this year she spent three weeks in Frankfurt as the recipient of a PASCH Jugendkurs Scholarship.

Sometimes, much to her delight, her passion for music crosses over - such as when she played in the New Zealand Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra and she was able to have a conversation with the German conductor.

Victoria also has a passion for science and has won major academic prizes at Columba.

Next year, she plans to study health sciences at the University of Otago and go on to study dentistry.

She also hopes to gain her full diploma in violin performance and revisit Germany for a longer period.

Achievements: Arts prefect (2019); NCEA levels 1 and 2 with excellence; NZ Scholarship English (2018); academic blues; arts blues; school academic and cultural prizes (2015-18); Goethe Institut Deutscholympiade Scholarship recipient (2018); Goethe Institut PASCH Jugendkurs Scholarship to Frankfurt (2019); 2nd Dawn Ibbotson Essay Competition (2019); SCSM associate diploma in violin performance, grade 8 violin with distinction; NZ Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra principal 2nd violinist (2019); Dunedin Youth Orchestra (2014-19), 1st violin (2019); Community Orchestra (2018-19); 1st Otago Chamber Music NZ Competition, best composition award (2017); NZ Chamber Music Competition national bronze award (2017, 18); Saturday Morning Music Classes teacher (2018-19).

Role model: Violinist Sarah Chang.

Hopes for the future: To study health sciences and then dentistry at the University of Otago.

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