Two Palmerston North Boys' High school leavers believe they have made their parents pretty happy, and are about to head to university next year with $50,000 each after winning two of New Zealand's most valuable academic scholarships.
Outgoing Boys' High year 13 pupils Rhys Judd, 17, and Tomy Jeon, 18, have wrapped up their schooling with a golden nod from the University of Auckland, winning two of 80 national scholarships out of a pool of 1200 applicants.
Palmerston North Boys' High rector David Bovey said the school was no stranger to the top scholarship, with one student a year taking home the top honour in the last few rounds since it became available.
But to get two in one year was a coup, and a first for the school, Mr Bovey said.
The scholarships, to be used for university fees and mentoring, will be put to good use, going towards one of the longest and most expensive degrees available - both boys will be studying toward medical degrees at Auckland University.
Rhys has enrolled in the first year health science programme, and Tomy in biomedical sciences.
In order to be eligible for the scholarships, the boys had to get at least 80 "excellence" credits in year 12 assessments. Rhys also took five level one science and maths accelerated papers at Massey University, while keeping up hockey, tennis and debating, where he cultivated an interest in foreign affairs, particularly military interventions in Libya and Syria.
He looked forward to assuming a wealth of medical knowledge.
"I would be lying if I said it wasn't about the money, but it is also a field where we need to know a lot of things and being able to apply that in tough situations. Being in a profession where knowledge is a key part of doing my work will be very rewarding."
Tomy said his own family's experience with health issues and difficulties accessing healthcare in rural settings had inspired him to pursue a career as a doctor. He has his eye on a career in neurology and said his parents had rejoiced at news he would get $50,000 toward his studies.
"They were very happy . . . It was pretty amazing because there were lots of students who got the same scholarship in the years before me and I really, really always wanted that scholarship, so I was really, really happy."
Both boys may soon be adding more funds to their university coffers, as they await the results of 13 NCEA scholarship exams that are, between them, worth thousands more.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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