In a school first, two students have been named dux of Taupō-nui-a-Tia College.

Student Eleanor Adams was top of her arts classes, and Loughlin McGrath topped her science classes.

Both students are glad the other was not named proxime accessit and were extremely happy to share the podium. Intending environmental law student Eleanor says the two didn't take the same subjects, so awarding a second place getter didn't seem relevant.

"It was very unusual, we were neck-and-neck, but in different subjects."


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This year Eleanor has taken an interest in climate change, and has also worked after school at lawyers Grantham Law in an internship type arrangement. Her interest in the environment and law has had her accepted to study a double degree at Victoria University - a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English and development studies.

Her top tip for success in academic studies is to have a good support system.

"My family and friends always encourage me."

She also has regular breaks in her study to go for a walk, hang out with friends or do some baking.

"In year 11 I tried to gun-study for six hours in a row and it doesn't work."

English teacher Amy Foster and history teacher Carmen Harris were an inspiration.

"I loved going to Miss Foster's class, and Miss Harris helped me get the law firm job."


Loughlin McGrath says she is pleased to share the top spot with Eleanor.

"We both deserved it as much as the other," says Loughlin.

Loughlin is heading to Auckland University in 2020 to study biomedical science and this may lead onto her becoming a medical student.

"But I will see how I go. I may do research science."

Choosing a health course was made easier for Loughlin by attending a week-long Whakapiki Ake Project course in Auckland for rangatahi (young students).

"We looked at nursing, health science, pharmacy. There are so many options."

Doing a little bit of study every day is Loughlin's tip for academic success.

"I do an hour per subject then have a 15-minute break and switch subjects."

Determination and perseverance also played a part, plus some encouragement from her family. She says her science teachers are one of the reasons she has done so well.

"They push me towards the big things because they know I can do it."

Loughlin didn't think she would ever get close to becoming dux, until prizegiving in year 12.

"Seeing them present dux at prize giving, I wanted to be up there."