A head start on university

Tauranga Boys' College students Kade Kampshof and Sean Weenink. Pjoto: Chris Callinan.

They were asked to ponder a monopoly structure as opposed to a perfectly competitive market structure.

And the distribution of taxing systems to create more desirable results.

But both Sean Weenink and Kade Kampshof seemed to get their heads around the Waikato University economics paper. Sean got an A+ or 98.4 per cent.

“I was a little disappointed,” says Sean. “They are simple questions a lot of the time. But sometimes if you aren’t focused it’s easier to make mistakes if you aren’t onto it. So I dropped a few of those.”

And Kade also got an A+ for 97.1 per cent.

Sean was third overall in the Waikato University course and Kade sixth, even though these student are just 17, still in short pants, still at school, still in Year 13 at Tauranga Boys’ College. They were mixing it with the first-year university students over the hill, and winning.

“A lot of the course is what we did in NCEA Level 3 so we were ready,” says Kade. “It wasn’t such a big step up.”

They also learn humility at Tauranga Boys’ College.

“We have really great teachers because it wasn’t just us who did really well with this paper,” says Sean.

“We have had consistently great results with this paper during the last five years, so I think we have a lot top thank our teachers for.”

He’s right. Fourteen TBC pupils sat the paper, nine got an A+, two got an A, two got an A- and one a B+.

They are all pupils in the accelerant class at Tauranga Boys’ College, academic achievers, they are bright boys. They are doing six subjects instead of the normal five – and they still want more. It gives them a chance to “get ahead” before even starting university.

“We did Level 3 economics last year and since we wanted to continue this year the next step was to do the uni paper,” says Kade. It’ll probably mean fewer papers in the final year of his three-year degree at Auckland University.

There are few NZ secondary schools offering university papers to pupils wishing to pursue further academic achievement. At TBC pupils can do economics and philosophy via Waikato University and statistics and calculus via Auckland University. Sean and Kade are also doing philosophy.

But neither Sean nor Kade are boy swats – they don’t burn the midnight oil over textbooks.

“The secret is to take subjects you are genuinely interested in,” says Sean. “Neither philosophy nor economics are boring. They are really interesting in their application and uses. They are genuinely intriguing.

“That’s what keeps us interested and it obviously gets good results.”

They are results that will take Sean to Victoria University next year where he will study commerce with majors in economics and math.

“I suppose the dream job would be working for the Reserve Bank,” says Sean. “That would be really cool. That’s somewhere where I could use my analytical strengths for the betterment of the country.”

Kade laughs off the “dweeb” word. He does 30 minutes’ study at the most after-school, except when loading for externals. ”I have a pretty good social life, do sports and hang out with friends.”

Kade’s off to Auckland University to study commerce and majoring in finance. “I want to get into the finance industry but not sure yet.” He will get his degree and go from there.

No, he doesn’t thumb the financial pages of the newspaper. But he was aware the Reserve Bank had dropped the Official Cash Rate quarter of a point to two per cent.

“I am not sure where my interest started,” says Kade. Although his dad is a dairy farmer and therefore a businessman. “He does love the business side of the industry so that could be it.”

“I think in comparison to some of the students who’ve gone before us, we aren’t that great,” says Sean. “But I think we have done alright.”

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