Scholarships help student to help others
A desire to help people like his mum has driven a Palmerston North school leaver to pursue biomedical science studies, after earning seven scholarships worth $90,000.
Palmerston North Boys' High dux Tomy Jeon is the cream of the crop of more than 100 Manawatu secondary school pupils who have wrapped up their schooling with dazzling results.
Mr Jeon, 18, is set to study biomedical science at Auckland University - one of the longest and most expensive degrees. But he will not be a penniless student - his hard work has reaped rewards.
Mr Jeon will begin university with seven scholarships worth a total of $90,000, made up of six from NZQA, and one worth $50,000 from Auckland University.
He plans to use the money to study toward a career in neurology, inspired to help people like his mother.
Angela Jeon has struggled with crippling fatigue for about 20 years. The mysterious ailment that sends her to sleep throughout the day has so far eluded diagnosis. Mr Jeon's fascination with the brain stemmed from a desire to find answers.
He has his eye on a future in neurological research, studying diseases such as Alzheimer's.
"There is a lot of potential for research because there remains so much that we don't know about the brain," Mr Jeon said.
"It really interests me, I don't know why . . . it's just this delicate balance of chemicals and hormones."
Boys' High scooped 69 scholarships, with some students taking out multiple honours.
Michael Yuan got five scholarships, including outstanding passes in physics and biology, and was named, along with Mr Jeon, among the top 54 pupils in the country in an NZQA outstanding list.
Boys' High's dux runner-up Rhys Judd also got Auckland University's $50,000 nod, and received a further five NZQA scholarships. Current head prefect Seamus Barnett gained four scholarship passes and an outstanding nod despite being only in Year 12 when he sat the exams.
The haul was a bumper result for the school, Boys' High deputy principal Gerard Atkin said.
"In recent years we have had one student pick up one of the Auckland scholarships but this is the first time we can recall two students receiving these awards."
Palmerston North Girls' High was awarded 19 scholarships between 15 students, five of them awarded at the "outstanding" level, including Apurva Kasture, the school's runner-up dux, who got four scholarships as well as $50,000 from Auckland University.
Palmerston North's Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Mana Tamariki also scooped three NZQA scholarships for Te Reo Maori language out of a total of just 16 awarded nationwide.
One of the recipients was New Zealand's Got Talent finalist Tawaroa Kawana, who achieved an outstanding award.