Top pupils' marks 'outstanding'
Eyob Zewdie's parents left Ethiopia in search of a better life when he was just five months old.
Now, at 16, he is among the top pupils in New Zealand, with three national scholarships to his name.
The Wellington College pupil was one of thousands of Kiwi pupils - many of them Wellingtonians - who received their scholarship results yesterday. He scored an outstanding mark in physics and scholarships in maths and chemistry.
Normally, the exams are for year 13 pupils, but Eyob is exceptional. He took the exams in year 11.
The annual NZQA scholarships recognise top pupils in each subject. The best of the best - those, such as Eyob, and fellow Wellington College pupil Nick On, who consistently show brilliance - receive the "outstanding" grade. Eyob, a former Mt Cook Primary School pupil, said he had always been good with numbers.
"At primary school the things we did in class were pretty easy. I realised it was an easy subject for me and I could do quite well in it."
It's a trait that runs in his family. His father was a physics teacher in Ethiopia, and his brother, Mulugeta, studies engineering at Auckland University.
Eyob joined an accelerated learning programme in year 9, and was ready for the scholarship exams this year, two years before his peers.
"My parents are really happy for me," Eyob said.
Only just beginning year 12, he said he was not yet thinking hard about a career. It was possible he would follow his brother into engineering, but said he wanted to keep his options open.
Nick On, 17, has also excelled in sciences. He won four outstanding-grade scholarships in calculus, chemistry, physical education and statistics and intended to go to medical school at Otago University.
"Medicine is a really good option for me. You're learning, applying knowledge and seeing direct impacts."
Eventually, he would like to make a contribution to medical research, but for now he and his parents were enjoying his success. "I'm pretty stoked at the moment."
Each NZQA scholarship earns a $500 grant, with greater rewards for the highest achievers. This year, 2344 pupils received at least one scholarship, out of 7974 who took the exams.
Wellington College – 152
Wellington High School – 22
Wellington East Girls School – 24
Samuel Marsden Karori – 25
Samuel Marsden Whitby – 4
Tawa College – 16
Queen Margaret College – 16
Scots College – 20
NB: Some pupils achieved more than one scholarship. NZQA did not release figures for each school in the Wellington area yesterday. Some pupils at Scots College and Queen Margaret College sit the International Baccalaureate.
The Dominion Post