Teen who dropped maths after year 11 to compete at Mathematics Olympiad

Grady Kenix. Photo: Supplied
Grady Kenix. Photo: Supplied
Christchurch teenager Grady Kenix has been selected as a member of the New Zealand Mathematics Olympiad team.

The 17-year-old from Lyttelton is in his final year at Burnside High School and is one of just six students selected - and the only one outside of Auckland.

He will compete at the 63rd International Mathematical Olympiad in Norway in July, which is expected to draw teams from more than 100 countries.

Ironically, Grady elected to drop maths at Burnside after year 11, but has continued to have a strong interest in the subject outside of the formal classroom setting.

His interest in maths started at primary school in Lyttelton, he said.

“We had a really good teacher called Jeremy and he was the one who stirred up my interest and fascination for the subject and started the maths journey for me.’’

Grady’s quest to be part of the New Zealand Mathematics Olympiad team started over 10 months ago, alongside hundreds of other hopefuls.

Over those months and after many hours of tuition, training camps and competitions, entry numbers were steadily whittled down to the final elite students.

Grady was given his selection news recently and is modest about his achievements.

“I’m happy to have been chosen after a long selection process and a lot of work, and I am looking forward to testing my maths skills against other students from around the world,” he said.

He receives $2000 towards the costs of attending the olympiad and will use earnings from his waiter job at Lyttelton’s Nomnom Kitchen to help fund the trip.

His travels will include a stopover in his birth-land of the USA, which he left at 9-months-old to come to New Zealand.

Grady is eyeing up the USA for his university studies and is considering neurobiology or computer science, but is still to decide.

-By Mick Jensen

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