Friends embrace academic award

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 16/05/2013
Thomas Legga
CRAIG SIMCOX/Fairfax NZ

WELL DONE TO YOU: Joint winners of the prime minister’s award for scholastic excellence are Nicholas On, left, and Thomas Leggat, both from Wellington College. ‘‘The school is a massive part of our success,’’ Thomas says.

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Wellington College is basking in its academic success after two of its top scholars jointly received the Prime Minister's Award for excellence.

The win by Thomas Leggat and Nicholas On is unprecedented - and Prime Minister John Key "absolutely" agreed that it showed the capital's young talent was alive and well.

"This is a first, and one out of the box," he said. "They're remarkable results and it shows what stunning results are coming out of Wellington College."

The classmates who took out the supreme prize in yesterday's top scholar awards at Government House said they had peeked at each other's results and pondered whether they might be in the running.

The prime minister's award was top-secret and, on hearing the announcement, the pair instantly embraced.

"The school is a massive part of our success and we can't speak highly enough about college," Thomas said.

"The hardest part about getting to here was finding a balance between studies and everything else we enjoyed doing at school last year."

The biggest grin at yesterday's ceremony came from Wellington College headmaster Roger Moses. "From an academic point of view, it doesn't get much better than this," he said.

Both boys are keen sportsmen, and Nicholas was named dux at last year's prizegiving. The pair have shared plenty of classes over the years and said winning the trophy with a friend made it more special.

Thomas is now studying for bachelor of law and bachelor of arts degrees at Auckland University, along with his twin sister, who is living at the same hall of residence. "She was head girl at Marsden College last year, so she's also done well for herself," he said.

Nicholas is studying health sciences at Otago University, where he plans to graduate in medicine.

Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae made awards for the 35 scholarship subjects yesterday, followed by Education Minister Hekia Parata, who awarded the top 10 premier scholarships.

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- The Dominion Post

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