When it comes to academic excellence, ACG Sunderland student, Junheng (David) Li, is at the top of the class. Currently in his final year of A-Level study, the talented teen has a bevy of scholarly accolades to his name including his most recent achievements – Top in the World (Mathematics) and Top in New Zealand (Chemistry) in the 2019 AS Level Cambridge International Examinations.
With a perfect score in AS Level Mathematics, David was thrilled to receive A grades in all his AS subjects including Chemistry (96%), Physics (96%) and English Literature (91%). Yet despite his personal hard work and dedication, he is quick to recognise the encouragement and guidance ACG Sunderland has provided.
“Receiving these Cambridge exam results confirmed the idea that I was studying at one of the best institutions available. These results are inseparable from the support that my school has given me and have shown that commitment and perseverance can lead to great outcomes.
“ACG Sunderland provides a healthy and comfortable environment to pursue my academic goals. I never feel alone with my studies both in terms of the student body as well as teacher support. Our teachers are always available – even during study leave tutorials we can stay in touch with them and ask questions face-to-face, and I always find this very comforting. It allows me to strive for a higher potential than by myself.”
For David, the biggest challenge leading up to his AS Level assessments wasn’t an overburdened study schedule or pre-exam stress but falling ill the weekend before.
“I really wanted to sit the exams but felt very unwell and was worried about affecting other students, which provided both a physical and psychological hurdle for me. However, through careful planning, I was allowed to sit them under supervision while isolated from other students. I am genuinely very grateful to the school for going out of their way to arrange for my examinations and safety of the other students.”
Now in Year 13, the analytically minded seventeen-year-old confirms that physics and mathematics continue to be his favoured subjects. But, with a passion for science, he adds that chemistry and biology should now be included amongst his preferences.
“The way the three sciences can link together and help explain almost everything is one of my favourite drives to studying these subjects.”
Understanding the need to balance his academic pursuits with outside interests and extracurricular activities, alongside his new role as a House Leader, David is also a keen scuba diver and gifted musician.
“This year I am hoping to further my certifications in scuba diving after becoming an Advanced Open Water Diver in 2019. And with regards to music, I am continuing to play piano for the school jazz band and have moved from the role of drummer to pianist in my band, Hex.
“I’m proud to be part of the school’s table tennis team and a peer tutor, helping those students who may need assistance in subjects such as mathematics.”
In addition to his academic studies, David has acquired a number of valuable life-skills during his years at Sunderland, the most significant of which is the importance of perseverance.
“The most important lesson that I have learnt is to never give up – even if things seem quite daunting initially, you can always work through them. Another is not to be afraid of making mistakes as learning from them is one of the most efficient ways to gain understanding.”
While acknowledging that Year 13 can be both a scary and intriguing process with regards to planning the next steps after school and leaving a system that students have grown very accustomed to, David is excited about his future and his plans for university.
“I would like to pursue a career in medicine and eventually specialise in pathology as I have discovered a keen interest in the mechanisms of diseases. The current Covid-19 situation has solidified my goal in wanting to be able to help in the frontlines of disease research and healthcare. Furthermore, I want to pursue a career that involves learning and developing oneself as well as teaching and helping others; I believe medicine would encompass many of these aspects.”