Class Act 2019: Otago Boys’ High School

Colby Allen and Jack Divers are the 2019 Class Act recipients for Otago Boys' High School.

Colby Allen
Colby Allen
Colby Allen

Netball is the only sport at the Commonwealth Games that has no male participants.

Maybe Colby Allen can change that.

The 17-year-old Otago Boys' High School pupil is a high level netball umpire and his professionalism on court is highly respected by players.

He has gained several netball umpiring qualifications, including the Netball New Zealand Zone Umpire Award and the Netball New Zealand theory exam, and he umpires several netball games every week at premier club level.

His performances on court have resulted in him winning recognition for being Dunedin Netball's best junior umpire in 2017 and a talent identified umpire at the 2018 South Island Secondary Schools Netball Tournament.

When he gets time, he also plays netball in a men's premier A grade team in Dunedin.

Colby is the first to admit: ''It's not something you see every day - not from a guy.''

But you'd be a brave person to give him a ribbing about it.

That's because he is also a very successful debater and has left many opponents eating their words.

This year alone, his school debating team won the Otago-Southland Regional Debating Championship and he was named best speaker, he was a member of the Otago-Southland regional debating team which came fifth at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Debating Championship and he was named a highly commended speaker in the national final.

''I like debating because it allows you to explore issues and challenge your own opinions on things.

''Because in debating you don't always get assigned the side you agree with, it means that you often think quite critically about the other side's opinion, which allows you to be more empathetic and understanding about why people hold particular views, even if I don't agree with them.''

Colby plans to study health sciences at the University of Otago next year, before studying medicine.

Ultimately, he hopes to become a doctor.

Achievements: 1st Otago-Southland Regional Debating Championship (2019), best speaker award (2019); Otago-Southland regional debating team member (2019); NZ Secondary Schools Debating Championship highly commended speaker (2019); 5th NZ Secondary Schools Debating Championship (2019); Otago-Southland debating development squad (2017, 2018); Otago-Southland Regional Debating Championship most promising speaker (2018); Otago-Southland regional debating team reserve (2018); Netball New Zealand Centre Umpire Award (2016); Netball New Zealand Zone Umpire Award (2017); Dunedin Netball best junior umpire (2017); SISS Netball Tournament talented identified umpire (2018); passed the Netball New Zealand theory exam (2018); umpires premier club level netball; plays premier A grade men’s netball; NZ Biology Olympiad Bronze Award (2018, 2019); Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award (2018); working towards Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award (2019).

Role model: My dad.

Hopes for the future: To study health sciences and then medicine.

Jack Divers
Jack Divers
Jack Divers

Swimming laps for three hours before school starts, and spending another three hours running or cycling after school, means personal sacrifices must be made from time to time.

''After dinner and homework, it's straight to bed and then I get up at 5am and do it all over again,'' Otago Boys' High School triathlete Jack Divers says.

''My social life takes a bit of a hammering.''

But the 18-year-old sees it as the price he pays today, so that tomorrow he can have medals hung over his head and be named in national teams.

And already, his determination and commitment are paying dividends.

Jack has been a member of the New Zealand under-19 triathlon team for the past two years, and last year he was placed 17th at the Under-19 World Triathlon Championships.

He has also been a bronze medallist in the South Island Secondary Schools triathlon for the past two years, and has dominated regional events by winning the Otago secondary schools duathlon and triathlon for the past four years.

Earlier this year, Jack was faced with one of his toughest decisions.

Should he risk future sporting success to go to Washington DC and New York where he was selected to attend the World Young Leaders' Conference?

Or should he continue his rigid training schedule?

He chose the latter and says it has been one of his biggest sacrifices to date.

''It's hard making sacrifices, but I've got a bigger goal in mind.

''It's the end results that make it all worth it.''

Jack is applying for sports scholarships this year, in the hope one will allow him to study commerce at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom next year.

While there, he will be able to compete against some of the best triathletes in Europe on a regular basis, which he hopes will push him to even greater sporting achievements.

Ultimately, he hopes to represent New Zealand in triathlon at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Achievements: Sports prefect (2019); New Zealand U19 triathlon team (2018-19); 17th at U19 World Triathlon Championships (2018); Otago secondary schools duathlon and triathlon champion (2016-19); Otago secondary schools 1500m champion (2019); Otago secondary schools 3000m silver medallist (2018); school cross-country champion (2015-19); SISS triathlon bronze medallist (2018-19); 4th New Zealand Secondary Schools Swimming Championships 400m individual medley and backstroke (2017); national competitive swimmer (2012-17); school swimming record holder (2015-18); Queensland swimming championships top 10 (2016); selected for World Young Leaders Conference in Washington DC and New York (2019); NCEA level 1 with excellence, level 2 with merit.

Role model: French triathlete Vincent Luis.

Hopes for the future: To study commerce at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom and compete in the triathlon at the Olympic Games.

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