NCEA stars: 'We couldn't be prouder'

Last updated 10:20 16/01/2014
Sebastian Eastment at the ANZ RSA Cyril Bassett VC Speech Competition

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In early 2009, my brother Seb, who was a Year 9 student, set himself a goal. A goal that he would achieve the junior diploma offered by his school with excellence.

At the end of 2010, he received his diploma, endorsed with merit.

At the start of 2011, in Year 11 and starting NCEA Level 1, he set himself another goal: to achieve NCEA Level 1 endorsed with excellence.

Results day arrived, and he'd achieved Level 1, endorsed with merit.

He set the same goal for NCEA Level 2, and achieved Level 2 with a merit endorsement.

The 2013 school year began, and this Year 13 student gritted his teeth and said this was his last chance. He wanted to get NCEA Level 3 with excellence.

Yesterday was results day, and there it was, written on the top of the webpage. NCEA Level 3, endorsed with excellence.

Seb has worked unbelievably hard to achieve the goal he set himself roughly five years ago.

But what makes his story all the more impressive is that Seb is autistic. No one in our family would have faulted him if he had chosen to settle for merit or achieved. But he didn't want to settle for that.

He didn't focus on his study to the exclusion of extra-curricular activities either. Seb captained the senior debating teams of both his house and the school, won the school speech competition, and was the Wellington-Taranaki-West Coast regional representative in the national final of the ANZ RSA Cyril Bassett VC Speech Competition. Not bad for a boy that didn't learn to talk until he was four.

This year has been characterised by almost continuous work, Seb leaping from one assignment to the next.

Now with his school years over, and with a gap year ahead, the hard part is convincing him that he deserves a bit of a rest before the next challenge.

This year, Seb taught me a lot about dedication.

We couldn't be prouder of him.

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