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"The talent was there but it wasn’t all luck."
That is how Otago Boys’ High School head boy Angus Henderson summarises his achievements, gained through a combination of hard work and a natural knack for his endeavours of choice.
The 18-year-old achieved NCEA scholarship in calculus and statistics in 2019, maintained an excellence result across his NCEA subjects and got an A+ in a university-level maths paper last year.
He took level 3 calculus two years in advance in year 11 and was awarded first in class for the year.
Angus credits his parents for giving him opportunities and Otago Boys’ for encouraging him to extend his learning.
During lockdown he helped to organise a Shave for a Cure event through his school, which raised more than $12,000.
In January of this year he had an epiphany, seeing he had the know-how to meet a gap in the market for statisticians.
"I went to Auckland for the Rotary Science and Technology Forum, and there were so many pathways but all of them needed stats.
"There’s so much great research being started but not that many people that can analyse it so it’s definitely become a passion of mine."
Basketball is his second passion. Angus plays the sport nine times each week through school and his local club, as well as refereeing the sport.
"It’s really good, especially for balance. It breaks up the day so I’m not always sitting in front of the books.
"I was playing every sport under the sun when I was 9 years old but I had to narrow it down and because I’m tall basketball seemed like quite a natural choice."
He has also had multiple lead roles in musicals over the past four years.
Achievements: Head boy (2020); NCEA scholarship statistics (2019); NCEA scholarship calculus (2019); A+ 100-level first year maths and computer science at University of Canterbury (2020); 100% excellence results NCEA; Otago Boys’ first basketball team starting centre (2020); St Kilda men’s basketball club A team, national referee NZ secondary schools basketball championships (2018); school production lead (2015-20); school tutor; organised school Shave for a Cure raising $12,000.
Role model: My dad, because he is very hard-working.
Hopes for the future: Study statistics at university and be involved in scientific research.
Liam Connolly was not always top of the class.
"I really had to work my way up."
The Otago Boys’ High School pupil arrived at secondary school realising he needed to make the most of his potential.
"At the start of high school I was adjusting to that new way of working and studying."
The 17-year-old soon found his niche in debating and academia.
Liam’s debating team was a quarterfinalist in the national Aotearoa Online Schools’ Debating Premier Grade competition held during lockdown, which he considers his greatest achievement to date.
"It was a very different experience. We were doing it over Zoom so you couldn’t use normal techniques like hand gestures. You relied on the arguments more."
He began the hobby in year 10.
"I was just having fun with classmates and trying something new with it [debating]. Then I started doing after-school competitions and started to enjoy talking about political topics.
"Over time I got into the development squad and began learning the intricacies of style and how you are supposed to articulate yourself."
He attended the Otago/Southland regional debating championships earlier this year and was named a highly commended speaker.
He achieved NCEA levels 1 and 2 with excellence, and gained a New Zealand scholarship in history last year.
He received academic blues in 2018 and 2019, and was named academic prefect at Otago Boys’ this year.
"I think it’s about finding the parts of each subject that I find really interesting and latching on to those."
Alongside debating, he enjoys model United Nations events and is looking forward to the Youth Model United Nations next month.
Liam hopes to study law and politics and possibly begin a career in politics.
Achievements: Academic prefect (2020); chairman of the Otago Boys High School Student Council (2020); NCEA level 1 and 2 with excellence; scholarship history (2019); academic blues (2018-19); debating blues (2019), Aotearoa Online Schools' Debating premier grade quarterfinalist (2020); 1st Otago-Southland Regional Schools Debating Championship (2019); Otago-Southland Debating development squad (2018-20); Otago-Southland Regional Schools Debating Championship highly commended speaker (2020); Dunedin Schools Debating fifth-best speaker (2019); representative on the Otago Boys High School Student Council (2016-19); Brain Bee Challenge regional finals (2017); NZ Biology Olympiad bronze award (2020); Duke of Edinburgh bronze award (2018); delegate at the UN Youth Model United Nations (2019).
Role model: Former New Zealand prime minister David Lange because he was a great orator
Hopes for the future: Continue to be inspired and learn forever in a field I choose, and hopefully make a difference.