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Scholarship students have taste of university


From US politics to Nazi Germany, Sancta Maria College’s two Year 13 history scholarship students spent Wednesday learning about the role of populism as a historical force. Zoe Chou and Danica Loulie-Wijtenburg joined with students from 28 other Auckland schools to discuss, analyse and dissect this provocative topic at the University of Auckland’s (UoA) Social Sciences Building. This fantastic event was organised by the Auckland History Teachers’ Association in conjunction with the UoA student-led History Society.

The young historians were first introduced to the idea of populism through six 15-minute lectures from various history professors at the university. The lecturers each defined populism differently, but the key aspects came down to placing two groups (normally the general underprivileged people vs the wealthy yet corrupt elite) into conflict due to a perception of inequality. Each of the lectures then examined populism in different contexts, for example late 19th century USA, modern Australian politics, the religious Crusades and even New Zealand’s own Liberal Party in the early 20th century. Our students were challenged and encouraged to think perceptively about the information presented throughout the day. This programme was invaluable as preparation for their scholarship history exam which they will be sitting in November along with other NZQA external examinations.

The experience of living as a university history student for a day was certainly fascinating and exciting. For both Sancta students, it was a foreshadowing of what their own experiences will be like next year as UoA students.

Danica Loulie-Wijtenburg