Krishan Luxmanan and Mitchell Joint
Having Sri Lankan parents but growing up in Dunedin has given Krishan Luxmanan a perspective not many others have.
The 17-year-old John McGlashan College head prefect has grown up with two different cultures that have helped shape who he is today.
"They are two very different cultures, I feel like I’ve been able to get the best of both worlds.
"The older I get the more I realise how lucky I am to have grown up with not only the rich Tamil culture of my parents, but also the amazing opportunities that Kiwi culture and my school has offered me."
Krishan has thrived in Dunedin by immersing himself in a number of academic, cultural and sporting activities.
He began undertaking his International Baccalaureate last year, and hopes to achieve highly in his exams this year.
He created an app a few year ago called Swipe Maths, an interactive maths game.
More recently, Krishan is learning web development in the hopes of starting an online tutoring venture with his friends.
Being the oldest of four siblings means family is very important to Krishan.
"I like to spend a lot of time hanging out with and annoying my three siblings — mostly this year as I’ve realised that this could very well be the last year I’m at home with them if I decide to go to a hall of residence or flat during university.
"I try to impart pearls of wisdom every now and then."
He is also an active member of the Dunedin Tamil Society, and is looking forward to upcoming celebrations with the group.
In his spare time, Krishan reads extensively — he says he likes reading about anything and everything.
"I really like learning, I’ll read books about anything just so I can find out more about a specific thing.
"It’s really interesting to learn about the secret forces that drive the world and to learn about the things that make people tick."
Krishan hopes to study first year health science and enter the health industry, ultimately wanting to make it a better experience for people.
Achievements: Head prefect (2020); NCEA Level 1 achieved with excellence with 132 excellence credits; founder of InTuition NZ; excellence in IB year 1 economics, English, mathematics, Spanish and chemistry, and merit in Physics (2019); excellence endorsed in NCEA Level 2 mathematics; school year group speech finals winner year 8, year 9, year 10 and year 11; 3rd place at Otago Secondary Schools Petanque Championships (2018); school 2nd XI cricket team captain (2019, 2020); Partnership for Youth sustainability and leadership conference participant (2018).
Role model: Oprah, Elon Musk, Muhammad Ali.
Hopes for the future: To study first year health science at the University of Otago and improve the health industry experience for people.
Not many 8-year-olds decide on a career and stick to it.
But for Mitchell Joint, serving in the New Zealand Defence Force was a decision he locked in at a young age.
The 17-year-old John McGlashan College prefect wants to be a pilot for the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
At the age of about 8, he first saw a Defence Force aircraft at the Taieri Airfield, and since then it has been "a goal that keeps me coming back".
"After that, I began riding my bike down to the airfield and talking to the local pilots, finding out as much as I could. I’ve been hooked on the idea since."
He is a member of the New Zealand Cadet Forces and over the past five years he has progressed to his current position of unit warrant officer, leading the 42 Squadron Dunedin Air Training Corps.
He was selected to attend both the junior and senior non-commissioned officer leadership courses at the Burnham Military Camp and gained the highest leadership award across all senior cadets in the South Island.
He enjoys the community aspect of Cadet Forces and the experiences on base.
"I like working as a team to achieve goals, and also having the opportunity to do things people my age don’t often get to do."
Earlier this year, Mitchell attended one of New Zealand’s largest Cadet Forces exercises with more than 1500 cadets, and led a platoon of 60 cadets over the 10-day exercise at Waiouru Military Camp.
Last year he completed his first solo flight over Blenheim.
He was awarded top aviator for the highest-achieving student, an RNZAF recommendation and a scholarship towards flight training.
Mitchell has worked hard in school, and acknowledges while schooling does not come naturally to him, he sees it as contributing to his end goal.
He has already started the process of applying for the New Zealand Defence Force, and is focused on his service in the Cadet Forces and NCEA grades to get everything lined up to join next year.
"I’m really looking forward to serving my country in the NZDF."
Achievements: 42 Squadron Dunedin Air Training Corps leading air cadet (2017); cadet corporal (2017); cadet sergeant (2018); cadet warrant officer (2019-2020); selected for the
New Zealand Cadet Forces’ National Aviation Course (2019); led cadet unit team in New Zealand Air Training Corps Sparrowhawk competition (2019); 1st U19 Otago Southland Secondary Schools’ Slalom Water Ski Championships (2020); South Island Secondary Schools’ Downhill Mountain Bike Champs (2018-19); prefect (2020); scholar’s tie (2019); NCEA level 1 excellence endorsed (2018); NCEA level 2 merit endorsed (2019).
Role models: Corporal Willie Apiata VC and my parents.
Hopes for the future: To join the New Zealand Defence Force and be a pilot.