A top 12 scholar while still in year 12

King’s High School pupil George Bates has won a New Zealand Qualifications Authority premier...
King’s High School pupil George Bates has won a New Zealand Qualifications Authority premier award for his results in the 2019 New Zealand scholarship exams. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
With a year to spare, George Bates has finished secondary school as one of New Zealand’s top scholars.

Last year, the 17-year-old gained NCEA level 3 with excellence endorsements and university entrance, and was listed as one of the top 12 New Zealand Qualifications Authority scholars of 2019 — all while still in year 12.

The King’s High School pupil was recently named as a premier award winner in the New Zealand scholarship examinations after receiving scholarships in English and physics, and outstanding scholarships in calculus, chemistry and statistics.

"After the exams, individually I reviewed how I thought I’d done in each of them and thought I hadn’t done enough.

"Finding I had was a pleasant surprise. I’m elated."

He said inspiration for his achievement came from former King’s pupil and dux William Scharpf, who was a premier scholar in 2018, and the school’s scholarship programme, which was extending the academic abilities of pupils — especially those in lower age groups.

George is now more than qualified to study at university this year. However, he has decided to return to King’s High School for year 13, like other pupils his age, so he can become the school’s head boy.

It would be a great chance to expand his leadership skills, and also give him a year to study some subjects of interest he did not have time for last year, he said.

This year, he is studying earth and space science, history and Spanish, and is particularly looking forward to te reo Maori.

"I think it will help me grow in leadership, but just being able to connect with a demographic that I haven’t been able to connect with in the same way ... I think learning the language of the Maori people is really important."

More than 9800 pupils sat New Zealand scholarship exams last year,

2138 of them being awarded one or more scholarships.

NZQA assessment deputy chief executive Kristine Kilkelly said the scholarship exams were regarded as the most prestigious secondary school awards in the country.

“It is designed to challenge the very best students and offers financial rewards for those going on to full-time tertiary study in New Zealand.”

Other NZQA award winners included King’s High School dux Jamie Haenraets (outstanding scholar and top scholar design), Dunstan High School dux O’Rorke Smith (top scholar biology), King’s pupils Arlo James and Arlo Munro (outstanding scholar), and Logan Park High School pupil Zak Rudin (outstanding scholar).

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