Five St. John’s College students have proven that age is only a number, after achieving high marks in first-year university papers.
Despite still being at school, the year 12 and 13 students managed to juggle NCEA subjects, along with the demands of University.
Calculus students Matthew McIvor, Alan Uthup and Kyle Groner received an A in the first semester of MATH199 at the University of Canterbury and Bede Powell was just behind with a B plus.
While Zach Barrett gained a B plus in an Accounting paper at Massey University via distance last semester and is on track to achieve another great result this semester.
After finishing year 13 last year with an Excellence endorsement at 16-years-old, Zach said as he was “so young” he decided he wasn’t ready to go off to University this year so decided to return to SJC.
As well as completing these university standards, and picking up some extra courses at school, he is currently gaining work experience as a PA for PWL Builders Ltd in Napier.
Next year he plans on pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting at Victoria University.
“Through work experience and my studies I have solidified my interest in the commerce field and intend on continuing in the commerce direction,” Zach said.
MATH199 is a full-year level 100 university course that the University of Canterbury offers secondary school students who excel in mathematics.
If students pass MATH199 they gain 30 points towards a UC degree which is normally transferrable to other universities and may enroll in our core level 200 maths and engineering mathematics courses.
UoC MATH199 Course Coordinator Liz Ackerley says the four SJC students have done very well and are to be commended on their efforts particularly given the difficulties that Covid-19 has generated.
Matthew and Kyle are both currently completing the second half of the course. Matthew will study Engineering at Canterbury next year and will be able to go straight into second-year maths.
As he still has one more year to go before finishing school, Kyle will continue with the second-year paper next year.
He doesn’t have a firm plan of what he wants to do after high school but doesn’t want to miss any opportunity offered to him.
While both Alan and Bede have decided not to continue with the second half of the year, to focus on their NCEA subjects, they are “grateful for the opportunity”.
Alan, who plans to study Health Science at Otago University next year said has given them an idea of what university is like.
Bede, on the other hand, does not know what he wants to study but believes it will be in the science or music fields.
SJC Head of Department Mathematics Grant McFarland said while the department can’t take any credit for the boys’ success, they are “very proud” of their achievements.
He said they do not believe in holding any student back, so enable students with the ability to further their education while still at school.
“It is about trying to give them the opportunities and allowing them to flower if they can,” he said.
Over the last four years, eight students have taken university papers in Mathematics – all achieving either an A or B.
Mr McFarland said they are expecting about seven more boys to take up the opportunity next year.
Kyle said seeing fellow SJC boys go before him and succeed spurred him on to take the course, along with his love for maths.
“We pretty much heard about it straight away in year 9 about how they push students ahead and all of us wanted to get pushed ahead,” he said.
“I have loved maths for a long time, and I wanted to be pushed into it because maths is fun for me.”
Achieving excellence in Level 2 maths last year as a year 11 meant he had “nothing else to do in maths except go ahead”.
The boys believe they wouldn’t be where they are now if it wasn’t for their teachers who have gone above and beyond for them.
“There are a number of teachers who are willing to put their time into helping us develop further,” Kyle said.