Top Chch scholars eye bright future

19:39, Feb 16 2014
Clara Todd and Ben Murray
TALENTED TEENS: They were identified at age 5 as gifted and talented at their Christchurch primary school and now Clara Todd, 18, and Ben Murray, 18, are among the country's top scholars.

Two Christchurch teenagers who went through primary school together and were identified as gifted and talented are now among the country's top scholars.

Clara Todd, 18, leaves Christchurch Girls' High School with the top mark in the country for geography and St Andrew's College leaver Ben Murray, 18, gained the top mark in music. They both sat NCEA scholarship exams.

They caught up last week to reminisce about their time at Elmwood Normal Primary School when they were both identified as gifted and talented even at age 5.

Todd was also one of only two Canterbury students to gain an outstanding scholar award, along with Shirley Boys' High School's Hayden White, 17.

Studying was a bit of work but Todd - who is also a talented athlete - only did what she felt like each day.

"I'm pretty competitive and always want to try and be the top in whatever I do.


"I possibly wouldn't study as much as people think I would. It comes naturally to me, I'm lucky in that respect."

She would be studying arts and biomedical engineering degrees at Auckland University this year, with the intention of designing medical equipment or prosthetics.

"I've always been interested in the idea of a career that can really benefit people's lives."

White was "pretty happy" being one of the city's brightest.

The exams were "aimed at the best of the best" and students were not expected to get everything right, he said.

"The difficulty is really high."

Shirley Boys' offered scholarship students extra tuition, which he believed really helped him.

The aspiring computer programmer was excited to start studying computer science at Canterbury University this year.

"I want to be writing code for computer software."

He already knew the campus after completing a first year maths course.

Murray said his top music result was "more a relief than anything else", after putting so much effort into the discipline over the years. He was Pipe Major of the school pipe band, that was named the top in the world in Glasgow, Scotland last year. "It was really nice to see that mark."

He will study a bachelor of music at Victoria University this year, focusing on classical performance in oboe.


Canterbury students top of their subjects:

Thomas Traill, agricultural and horticultural science, STAC Keegan Bragg, drama, STAC Ben Murray, music, STAC Clara Todd, geography, CGHS Tomone Hirasawa, Japanese, Burnside High.

The Press