Okaihau College student Carym Wharerau took home the Dux award last year, after being awarded a Te Ara a Kupe Beaton Scholarship. Carym was one of five Maori students to receive the inaugural scholarship, launched by EdTech company Crimson Education to support Maori students with applications to top-ranked universities around the world – institutions at which they are often under-represented.
“I would’ve thought it was impossible to study overseas,” Carym says. “Crimson has really helped me to build on myself on top of everything else and allowed me to think internationally. Before I’d never considered studying at Stanford and Harvard. I was telling some of my friends they’re way more capable than they think,” he said.
As a scholarship winner, Carym has received $20,000 worth of mentoring by Crimson.
The Year 13 student says the school’s awarding of Dux at the end of the school year came as “a complete surprise” given his inclination towards graphic arts and design over the sciences.
“When my name was announced the whole school stood up. I had to stand up and my whole year group performed the haka.”
Carym’s positive impact extends beyond his school and into the community, as he aims to take his love of graphic art, design and tech abroad.
“For me it’s the idea of not proving everyone right. They might think ‘he goes to a small school so he will get small outcomes’ but what drove me is to get big outcomes. It’s also important to give back and keep the connection between the Maori culture and communities strong.”
Carym aims to use design to invent a new functionality that becomes an essential need, rather than want. “It can be as simple as making a pen much more useful for someone else, like a pen that writes on paper and also functions as a stylus,” he says.
For other students entering into their final school year in 2018, his advice is simple. “While at school I didn’t just go to school to get my qualification. My mindset was to make the most out of my last year as you only get one chance and I didn’t want there to be any regrets. School is one of the best times of our lives so my advice to other students is to make the most of what they have.”
In the coming months, Carym will pursue studies at Victoria University on a scholarship, where he will major in Design and Business, while keeping sights set on study abroad opportunities.
“I just want to keep surprising people. My family are really proud of me. I can’t wait to help them; especially my mum. I don’t want them to have to work a day in their life,” he says.
Through the Te Ara a Kupe Beaton Scholarship, Carym received tutoring across extracurriculars English, business studies, scholarship subjects and the common application essay as well as standardised test preparation.