Dux 2023

Dux 2023 - Recent News - Te Awamutu College

Kaeden Cresswell was short odds to be named Dux Litterarum for Te Awamutu College for 2023 at Friday's senior prizegiving.

In fact, when announcing the final award, principal Tony Membery said Kaeden was paying $1.01 at the TAB. In their valedictory speeches, all four head students commented on Membery's sense of humour.

But over the past years, Kaeden had topped Year 11 and Year 12 achievements and at prizegiving we had already seen him loaded up with the McKinnon Cup, Sherwin Family Award, Kravchenko Cup, Rutherford Cup and Matthewson Cup for Excellence in the Sciences after coming first in each of his Level 3 classes -- chemistry, economics and business studies, earth and space science and physics.

Kaeden has already attained NCEA Level 3 with 70 of 70 credits attempted, 65 with Excellence -- meaning he has NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 endorsed with Excellence.

Mathematics is where he really shines and he completed Level 3 mathematics with calculus last year, topping the class, and is studying at scholarship level this year.

We had also seen Kaeden be awarded the University OF Waikato Te Paewai o Te Rangi Scholarship for outstanding academic achievement valued at $30,000 -- the most valuable scholarship awarded.

But when Kaeden was about to start his schooling aged 4, he had a speech and language disorder and was quiet and not very communicative.

The family credits Paterangi School and teacher Simon Drury for recognising Kaeden's talents and helping him through his language challenges.

His mother Gale says numbers always made sense to Kaeden and it was Drury who recognised and encouraged this.

"The school accepted him as he was and helped him shine," she says.

I first met Kaeden and introduced him to Te Awamutu Courier readers in 2016.

He was in Drury's class at Paterangi and had sat the ICAS exams run by the University of New South Wales, earning a High Distinction Certificate with a result that put him in the top 1 per cent of students his age throughout New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

Kaeden admits when he can choose subjects, he picks those that involve numbers.

But, when he had to take English as a compulsory subject through to Level 1, and at extension level because of his class, he still passed with excellence.

He took it again at Level 2 and also passed with excellence.

"I like studying and I like to do well, but coming out on top is a bonus," Kaeden says.

"I used to work too hard, starting early and finishing late, but I have a better balance now."

Kaeden also enjoys a round of golf, trail running and outdoor hiking and is a mathematics tutor for Impact Tutoring.

And he has a plan for his future, which starts at Waikato University in 2024, but not before he takes some time out after exams to explore some parts of the North Island over summer.

Kaeden is enrolled for a double major in earth sciences and mathematics and hopes it will lead to a career that will fulfil a childhood dream of being a weatherman.

His father Jaron says as a kid his favourite TV programme used to be Sky's Weather Channel.

"Whenever we left the set, we would come back to find it on the channel," he says,

"And Kaeden wouldn't watch the news but would suddenly appear when the weather came on."

Kaeden says it is about the numbers involved in weather, and as weather patterns evolve and weather becomes more extreme, he believes it would be an interesting and valuable job to be a meteorologist.

It isn't an easy career to get into -- the family believe about 10 students are handpicked every couple of years to train.

He also has backup plans to be a volcanologist or secondary mathematics and science teacher, especially as he loves being a tutor and helping students.

Kaeden plans to continue tutoring while at university.

Other plans for the future do involve travel, Canada is currently at the top of his list so he can get into the mountains and do glacier hikes.

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Photo & Article Courtesy of:

Te Awamutu Courier dated Thursday, 9 November 2023

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