Ashleigh graduated at the end of 2013. While at the College, she played Waterpolo, was a member of the Concert Band, and coached and played Netball. She was also a Peer Support Leader in her final year.
Ashleigh started at the College in Year 8 and remembered thinking it ‘seemed like a college empire’. ‘I vividly remember seeing the JPC building. I was fascinated and most definitely lured by the creativity that flowed from one wall to another. Unsurprisingly I took as many creative subjects as possible, including fashion, painting and photography.’
From Year 11, Ashleigh decided that she would go on to university following College. She enjoyed History and Classics and her grades in those papers essentially streamlined her decision into thinking she would study Law.
In Year 13, Ashleigh was set on enrolling in a Bachelor of Law but a ‘slight hurdle’ to her plan occurred in mid to late 2013, when her fashion textiles teacher at the time, Ms Henry, encouraged her to enter into the Sylvia Park ‘Off the Rack’ Competition. Entering involved displaying garments that she had created at the busy shopping mall. Next thing she knew, she had won the Young Designer Competition and was presented with an $8,000 cheque to study Fashion! She said this presented quite a difficult question – whether to pursue the Arts or a legal career?
In the end, Ashleigh decided to enrol in a Bachelor of Law. She first started at Victoria University of Wellington and later transferred to Waikato University in Hamilton. She graduated with a Bachelor of Law with First Class Honours in 2018 and was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of Auckland in October 2019. From University she began a Summer Internship with the Public Defence Service/PDS (a criminal defence organisation). She remains at PDS as a Criminal Defence Lawyer.
Reflecting back, Ashleigh says her College years were some of the most important.
‘That was when my work ethic was entrenched, and important future decisions were made. It was also a time when I started to gain independence. Additionally, my eyes were opened to the number of opportunities that I had right in front of me – both academically and within the sports area. It was essentially a matter of choosing what best fitted me.’
Ashleigh encourages current students to ‘engage, engage, engage.’ Engage in class settings and in a team sport. Ashleigh said to make sure that you ask questions and that she has always been told that, ‘no question is a dumb question, the only dumb question is the one not asked.’ She also encourages the students to be kind and patient towards one another and says, ‘I have so many warm memories of my time at Saint Kentigern and I hope that you spend time creating those memories too.’