Push for exam excellences puts naming of dux on hold

Raglan Area School’s senior students are on an “upward shift” in qualifications, says principal Malcolm Cox, so no dux was named at its year 11-13 prizegiving last Friday.

“We don’t have the information (to nominate a dux) until January next year,” he explains. “There’s a huge emphasis now on getting excellences in external exams and students are really focused on that.”

Their achievement in external exams at the end of the year is important because of the quality of attainment ensuring excellence endorsements and certificates, says Malcolm. Excellences mean they improve their applications for top scholarships to universities around the country.

“They’re on an upward shift in qualifications.”

Despite the absence of a dux at prizegiving last week, the area school’s top handful of academic students in each of its senior years was identified.

They were year 11s Isabella Marseglia, Sven Seddon, Sequoia Gavin-McCabe and Kate Marsden; year 12s Emma Blaikie, Jay Piper-Healion, Aimee Brown and Maia Sega; year 13s Joy Hunter, Bhumika Patel and Lee Ririnui.

A standout student – now completing final exams along with her peers – was Joy Hunter who already has “mostly excellences” with four scholarships worth up to $25,000 to choose from.

She is in an “astonishing position”, Malcolm told the Chronicle, confirming that two students last year in the school’s small pool of leavers also got more than one scholarship each and had choices to make on the nature of their tertiary education.

Raglan-domiciled Waikato University professor Holly Thorpe, whose area of expertise includes the sociology of youth culture, presented scholarships to year 13s Joy Hunter, Amy-Mei Putaranui-Browne, Lexi Holmes, Sean Dillon and Liam Dingle.

They were fine examples of students “pushing through that finish line”, she said.

The principal’s address on goal-setting encouraged senior students to continue to step up, take responsibility for their learning and  “empty the tank” by being and doing their best.

Malcolm was delighted to add that the school might even have a 100 percent pass rate this time round for year 12s getting Level 2 NCEA qualifications – “the door that opens up all other opportunities”.

He also acknowledged the work of school-leaver and aspiring professional firefighter Julius Kite who “disappeared out of the school grounds” whenever the Raglan Volunteer Fire Service siren sounded.

Julius has gained some credits associated with his many hours of volunteer work, Malcolm explained, and plenty of kudos in the community for giving his time in this way. “It’s a huge endorsement of Julius as a person.”    

Former head boy and top surfer Luke Hughes who took over Raglan Surf Co a few years ago from his late father, Craig, was the evening’s guest speaker. “Live your life, have fun with your dreams, give yourself a goal, work hard,” he advised the fresh wave of seniors.

“Success doesn’t appear out of nowhere.”

Edith Symes