2019 Otago Daily Times Class Act Recipients - Nathan Hastie & Duncan Roff
Congratulations to the 2019 ODT Class Act recipients:
Out of adversity comes opportunity.
It is a lesson Nathan Hastie (18) has learnt this year after seriously injuring his leg in a rugby match, leaving him unable to play for the rest of the season.
The King's High School head prefect and First XV rugby leader vividly remembers the moment he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and tore his meniscus.
''I was playing a pre-season match earlier this year and I took a side step, my leg just popped and then I got bowled by a big front-rower at the same time. I didn't really realise what was going on at the time because of that.''
Later he learnt the devastating news that his rugby season was over and he would be in a leg brace and using crutches for much of this year.
''It's been hard because rugby is a big part of who I am, and especially because it's my last year at school and I haven't been able to lead the boys out on to the paddock.''
He will also miss the cricket season.
He has been captain of the school's First XI cricket team for the past two years, and a member of the Otago under-19 cricket team since 2017.
Nathan is seeing the enforced break as an opportunity to do other things - like coaching.
''It has been challenging missing the rugby season, but I've just tried to stay in the team environment and help the boys out from the sideline, where I can.''
Fortunately, Nathan has had the benefit of being selected for the Highlanders under-18 rugby training camp for the past three years, where he was taught he had to be ''more than just a rugby player''.
''Rugby careers are pretty short - realistically, 10-15 years. So a lot of emphasis is put on life after rugby. I spent most days training for rugby, but now that I can't do that, it's given me an opportunity to knuckle down on my schoolwork. That will definitely pay off.''
Next year, he hopes to study sports development and management at the University of Otago.
In the meantime, he is patiently waiting for his leg to heal and hopes to be back playing in the next rugby season.
''I'd definitely love to play rugby again. For now, I'll just focus on my rehabilitation. But if that doesn't happen, I'll focus on my university study and get my sporting fix from sport management.''
Achievements: Head prefect (2019); NCEA levels l and 2 with excellence; 1st in physical education (2017-18); academic blues (2017-18); 1st XV rugby captain (2018); capped member of 1st XV rugby team; Highlanders U18 training camp (2017-19); 1st XI cricket captain (2018-19); Otago U19 cricket (2017-19); Otago Metro U18 back of the year (2018); Otago Cricket U19 bowler of the year (2017-18).
Role model: All Black and Highlanders rugby player Ben Smith.
Hopes for the future: To study sports development and management at the University of Otago.
Unlike most secondary school pupils, Duncan Roff is frequently encouraged by his parents to put his textbooks down and watch some television for half an hour.
''It happens all the time,'' he says.
''I'll bet there aren't too many parents out there like that.''
The 17-year-old King's High School pupil describes himself as ''a bit of a nerd'' and admits to being addicted to study. If he had his way, he would spend his entire day studying.
''I spend all of my spare time studying.''
But he has not always been so studious.
''Back in primary and intermediate school, I was barely above average. It was all about playtime and eating my lunch,'' he joked.
But since arriving at King's, he said the school had provided him with a supportive environment and the confidence to thrive academically.
''I started getting excellences, and I wanted to keep getting them.
''It's really addictive. I won't settle for anything less than excellence.''
As a result, he was placed in advanced classes and has achieved outstanding academic success.
In 2016, he achieved Cambridge A* in mathematics, science and global perspectives.
In 2017, he achieved NCEA level 1 with excellence, was first in level 1 economics and accounting, and first in level 2 maths and physics.
He ramped up the speed of his achievements in 2018, while still in year 12, when he achieved NCEA level 2 and 3 with excellence, gained New Zealand Scholarships in physics and calculus, was first in level 2 economics and accounting, and first in level 3 physics.
''That was really hard. I had to work really hard for that.''
This year, alongside more NCEA level 3 subjects, he is studying 100-level papers in mathematics at Canterbury University and 100-level papers in economics at the University of Otago.
Next year he plans to study finance, economics and physics at the University of Otago, and go on to study for a masters degree in finance or economics.
Ultimately, he hopes to forge a career in the banking or finance sectors.
Achievements: Cambridge A* in mathematics, science and global perspectives (2016); NCEA level 1 with excellence (2017); NCEA level 2 and 3 with excellence (2018); academic blues (2017-18); 1st in economics and accounting (2017-18); 1st in level 2 maths (2017); 1st in level 2 physics (2017); 1st in level 3 physics (2018); NZ Scholarship in physics and calculus (2018); studying 100-level mathematics at Canterbury University (2019); studying 100-level economics at Otago University (2019).
Role model: Khan Academy online learning tool founder Sal Khan.
Hopes for the future: To study finance, economics and physics at the University of Otago.