Maths whizz not skipping school

Kavanagh College year 12 pupil Tobias Devereux recently scored the top mark (100%) in the 2020...
Kavanagh College year 12 pupil Tobias Devereux recently scored the top mark (100%) in the 2020 New Zealand Physics and Mathematics Competition, where he was up against the country’s top year 13 pupils. PHOTO: JOHN LEWIS
Few 16-year-olds would turn down the chance to skip the rest of school and go straight to university - if they had the qualifications, that is.

Having already gained NCEA level 3 endorsed with excellence and university entrance, Tobias Devereux has that option.

But the Kavanagh College year 12 mathematics whizz is adamant he wants to stay in school for his final year.

Why?

"I don’t want to go to university straight away - not because I won’t fit in. I’d just rather be around people my own age.

"I’m planning on staying, mainly because I enjoy being in the school community with all my friends."

He also wants to improve his literacy skills and pick up some leadership roles, and he has his sights set on being the college’s dux next year.

"There’s lots of reasons to stay. For me, the benefits of staying outweigh the benefits of going a year ahead."

Tobias has been blowing the minds of his teachers since he started primary school.

When he was 10 years old and still in primary school, he astounded his teachers and friends by achieving NCEA level 1 maths with an excellence endorsement.

In layman's terms, he achieved the academic feat five years before the majority of pupils start the qualification.

A year later he achieved NCEA level 2 extension maths with excellence, and by the time he was 13, he had completed NCEA level 3 calculus and level 3 statistics, both with excellence.

Since then he has gone on to gain NZQA scholarships in calculus and statistics, and A+ results in a mix of 100-level and 200-level correspondence maths papers at Canterbury University and Massey University.

He has also gained numerous awards in national and regional mathematics competitions, including the highest score in New Zealand for the 2018 ICAS Maths Competition and the 2019 ICAS Digital Technologies Competition.

He recently received the top mark (100%) in the 2020 New Zealand Physics and Mathematics Competition where he was up against the country’s top year 13 pupils.

Tobias said he would continue to study university maths papers by correspondence next year, and when he finally does make that step to full-time university study, he wants to study computer sciences and become a programmer.

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