Rotorua teenager Marc Rigter is aiming high as he embarks on his first steps to study aeronautics.
The former John Paul College student has had his pick of where to study, in New Zealand and in Australia, after his impressive academic results netted him five scholarship offers.
Achieving merit and excellent in his NCEA results he gained an Australian university entrance score of 99.95 per cent out of 100.
He has accepted a scholarship from the University of Sydney where he will study a Bachelor of Engineering majoring in aeronautics. The scholarship will pay $10,000 each year for the four-year course that will cover fees and contribute to living costs. He hopes to one day work in the United States for Boeing, Space X or Nasa.
"I'm pretty excited to go and just meet new people and experience the new culture," Marc said.
"It felt pretty good about my results and did a lot better than what I expected. I didn't think I would get such a high percentage [for Australian university entrance]."
He was also offered a $50,000 University of Auckland scholarship but turned it down to study in Australia.
His mother Sandra Rigter said the family was proud of Marc's achievements and that he took on board the words of John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh to work hard and apply himself as it would pay dividends in the future.
"We pretty much just left Marc to it," Mrs Rigter said, adding that leading up to exams a lot of dishes and chores went undone. "There will be lots of visits planned [to Sydney] and it would be good if we can fly in directly from Rotorua."
Marc's CV shows he is not only academically gifted but is a talented sportsman, having represented the Bay of Plenty in cricket and golf. He taught himself how to play the piano, reaching Grade 6 after just six piano lessons, Mrs Rigter said.
Principal Mr Walsh said he formally identified Marc was talented about three years ago and spoke to him of how he had the ability to become school dux. "Marc's results through our testing showed he was very, very bright, but I thought at the time he was cruising. I spoke to him and it just brings home ... that a word of encouragement to a young person can yield huge results," Mr Walsh said.