How to be a top student

20:59, Dec 05 2013
timaru duxes
DUX STUDENTS: Connor Jaine; Andrew Newark; Itsuki Nishida, Katelyn Straub; Nathan Williams.

Meet five of South Canterbury high schools' dux students and discover their secrets to success. The remaining schools' educational high-achievers will be featured in following weeks. Joanne Bennett reports.

■ Timaru Boys' High School
Connor Jaine

Tell us about yourself.

I am originally from Longbeach, just out of Ashburton. I went to Longbeach Primary School, but I call Geraldine home.

My interests are riding BMX, snowboarding and playing guitar.

How hard did you have to work?


I had to work pretty hard. Getting dux was a goal that I had set for myself about this time last year, so I fully committed and made sure I achieved it.

What are your plans now?

I am off to the University of Canterbury to do a Bachelor of Engineering. In five years' time I would like to have completed my degree, and hopefully then spend a bit of time travelling around and riding my bike.

■ Geraldine High School
Andrew Newark

Tell us about yourself.

I was born in England in 1995, lived over there for 11 years of my life until me and my family moved out to New Zealand in September 2006. I went to primary school in England in place called Uppingham.

When I came to New Zealand, I went to Geraldine Primary School for one term before heading to Geraldine High School. My interests include rugby, golf and tramping.

How hard did you have to work?

I gave this year my all in terms of workrate knowing it was my last year at school and I really wanted to make the most of it, so I have kept up to date and on task throughout the year.

Secret to success?

My secret to success was really time management and ensuring that I prioritise. I also ensure I have a good work/ play balance so I'm not overdoing it - not too much study or homework or too much free time. If you make the most of your time in class you don't need to do too much extra.

What are your plans now?

Plans now are university for at least the next three years doing a Bachelor of Applied Science at Otago and then I'll see what happens.

■ Mountainview High School
Itsuki Nishida

Tell us about yourself.

I come from Japan and have been here for three years as an international student at Mountainview High School.

I was born and grew up in Japan and had never lived outside of my country before. I love music and play a few instruments and I am very interested in languages too, and that is how I am here now.

How hard did you have to work?

My hardest year was the first year in year 11 because of my poor English. I could not keep up with any of the classes and I was not able to ask the others to give me a hand either. But because I had to work very hard in my first year by myself, every year it has become easier to do the work.

I did work hard this year too, but I didn't want to burn-out half way, so not too hard.

What are your plans now?

I really enjoy maths and it is my strength, so I am planning to study an engineering course at university next year. My dream is to become an international person who can live anywhere in the world. I do not know what my life is going to be like and where it will be, and that mystery makes me happy.

■ Timaru Girls' High School
Katelyn Straub

Tell us about yourself.

I was born in South Africa and moved to New Zealand when I was 3 years old. I live on a lifestyle block past Pleasant Point. I went to Waimataitai School from 2000 to 2008.

I like to play netball and tennis. I love camping and I waterski, wakeboard and biscuit. I also love shopping and hanging out with my family and friends.

How hard did you have to work?

I had to work extremely hard. I spent many many hours and had a few long nights working on internals and studying.

Secret to success?

Aim high. Always try your best no matter what. put 100 per cent into everything.

Manage your time well. For me this year I was super busy since I was Deputy Head of School and had a job, so it meant I had to be extremely organised.

Have a strong work ethic and keep focused. Sometimes for me that meant spending hours on internals and studying.

What are your plans now?

I am going to Dunedin to do a three-year Bachelor of Education Studies - Primary Education degree at Otago University, then I'll do the Graduate Diploma in Education and Teaching - Primary Education so I can become a primary school teacher.

Where would you like to be in five years' time?

I would like to have a job, as a primary-school teacher. I would also like to have gone to South Africa on a holiday to visit

■ Waimate High School
Nathan Williams

Tell us about yourself.

I went to primary school at Waituna Creek School near Waimate, a great rural school. In year 7, I went to Waimate High.

In my spare time, I like to get out and have a round of golf. I am also a member of the Waimate Venturer Unit, and recently earned my Queen's Scout Award.

How hard did you have to work?

This year has definitely been a busy year. I think it's important to have good time management.

If you can get your internals done as soon as possible, it makes life a lot easier at the end of the year.

You're probably sick of your teachers telling you this, but goal setting is so important. I found that having goals helped me to focus on what I wanted to achieve.

What are your plans now?

Next year, I will be studying at the University of Otago towards a Bachelor of Science majoring in physics, with a minor in geography.

After this, I hope to either do some postgraduate research into environmental issues, or train as a meteorologist for Metservice.

But I'm sure I'll find lots of other opportunities when I get to uni.

The Timaru Herald