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  Thunderkids 2015 - Rockquest 





Chinese born Blue Mountain College pupil Ruixuan Juan is flourishing in the Kiwi lifestyle.

 The 17-year-old moved to West Otago from China two years ago and has found the balance of academic and social life the perfect foil for success.

“The Education and way of life here is a lot different. In China,[the focus] is more about academics and school work – study and study. Here, you can study and … do sport at the same time; just enjoy life. You’re still learning the stuff at the same time.”

Ruixuan has taken up rugby and netball and her schoolwork has not suffered. She passed level 1 and level 2 NCEA with excellence in 2014, being named premier scholar for level 1 and top scholar for level 2.

She is most passionate about physics and hopes to study engineering at Canterbury University next year.  

But it is her cultural achievements Ruixuan is most proud of.

She completed the Toastmasters youth leadership programme last year, was in the school production Grease and is a peer support leader. She also completed a shearing course during NCEA level 2.

These experiences had taught her how to be a leader and increased her confidence.

“I like to try, even if it’s really hard for me. When I was shearing – people laughed at me about it because they thought ‘you’re a little girl, how can you do the shearing course?’.

“When I came here I was shy and not confident enough to talk to people, but I then made a lot of friends and they helped me.”

Ruixuan said her father, who is living in China with the rest of her family, was an obvious role model. He entered the army in China as a teenager without finishing school but has now completed a university degree in mechanics.

‘He has inspired me to never give up.”

A life on the land beckons for Blue Mountain College all-rounder Fraser Munro.

Fraser (18), a school prefect involved in five committees, is as comfortable with a pen in hand as he is on the rugby field, but it is on the farm his real passion lies.

That is reflected by his excellence endorsement and most diligent student award in NCEA level 1 agriculture in 2013, when he came first in his year.  He was also first in maths and geography that year and in economics and english in NCEA level 2 the next year.  He is in the school theatrical society and played the main character Vince Fontaine in its production Grease.

Despite his talents, there is no deliberation when considering his future.

“I love {the farm},” he says. “I would like to move on to somewhere else and then come back to West Otago.  That means attending either Lincoln University or the University of Otago to complete an agricultural science degree before possibly heading overseas.

Fraser has played for the First XV since he was in Year 10 and won the school’s under 16 cross- country race.  But you will not hear the blindside flanker nominating Ritchie McCaw or Dan Carter as his heroes, that honour falls to one of his own family members.  “That’s my grandad. He’s 8o something and still comes out on to the farm and that. He’s a really outgoing guy, his all-round attitude towards everything is just really inspiring. I definitely want to try and be like him.

Fraser has won many awards and accolades, but it was conquering the Great Barrier Island outdoor pursuit governance course which he pinpointed as one of his highlights.  The opportunity came about because he was a student representative on the Board, he said.




Congratulations to: 

2015 Head Students 

Michaela Blair & Luc Purser

Deputy Head Students:

Jessie-Ann Corbett & Samuel Perkins

2014 Dux 
Mathilde van Baarle