Maclean High student Crystal Piper has been been offered a Harvard scholarship for her academic and athletic achievements.
Maclean High student Crystal Piper has been been offered a Harvard scholarship for her academic and athletic achievements. Adam Hourigan

Crystal rows into Harvard’s sights

MAYBE it’s the competitive spirit that Crystal Piper displayed when she competed at the Australian National Rowing Championships for the first time, claiming a silver and bronze as a 16-year-old in the Under-19 Quad and Schoolgirl Single.

Maybe it’s her love of rowing which drove her to dedicate nearly every waking hour to training and flying to and from Sydney for extra sessions in the months leading up to the event in March.

Whatever it is, it has caught the eye of Harvard University officials who have offered her a scholarship.

It’s fair to say the shock and excitement still hasn’t quite sunk in for the Maclean High School student, who only received the offer in the mail last week.

“They said they saw me at the national championships and wanted to offer me a place,” Ms Piper said.

“It’s really crazy, I saw it and just couldn’t believe it. I never expected anyone from a little country town like Maclean could be noticed by Harvard. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet.”

For the Year 11 student, the offer to attend the American university is a dream come true.

“I love school and learning and really wanted to go to a good university but Harvard is something else completely,” Ms Piper said.

“It’s almost too good to be true. I never expected anything like this to happen to me. People have been saying this offer will take a lot of pressure off my HSC but I’m just really competitive in nature so I will still want to do really well.

“They wanted to know what year I finished school and said in the letter even if I’m a little interested to email them and I did, so I can’t wait to hear what they have to say.”

Ms Piper said she hopes to continue rowing and competing at the highest level possible.

“I love rowing, I used to just do it because it was fun and good for my fitness but there is something about rowing I really love,” she said.

“To get the opportunity to compete at a high level is exciting. It would be really cool to go to a world junior championship, so I think that’s another goal. Obviously Harvard want me to keep rowing, combine competitive rowing and education, because that’s what they saw me for.”

Ms Piper said some of her favourite subjects are maths, economics and physics.

“I really like neuroscience as well,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in that, so if I could study that further that would be exciting.”



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