A head for mathematics
By JULIA ILES
SAM TURNER does not fit the stereotype of a mathematics whiz.
He is into sports, he doesn't wear glasses and during this interview he did not mention computers once.
But there is no doubting his mathematical ability.
The Year 12 Cathedral School student won first place in the University of New South Wales mathematics competition, beating 28,000 other high school students with a score of 36 from a possible 40.
"When I left the classroom after the test, I felt confident and couldn't think of any questions that I had answered wrongly," Sam said.
"But I didn't expect to do this well ? in the past and in other competitions I have got distinctions, but this is really an exciting result."
The nights leading up to the competition were not filled with relentless study, Sam said.
In fact, on the day of the competition, he didn't even realise it was on.
The result provides Sam with an opportunity to gain early entry to university, whereby his final mark will be based on his school scores rather than having to sit through HSC testing.
Cathedral School principal Chris Ivey was understandably excited for his star student.
"This is the first time a student from our school, and I think the Clarence region, has won the competition and we are amazed he got such a great result," Mr Ivey said.
He attributed Sam's success to the 18-year-old's own effort, but also paid tribute to the school's mathematics department, led by Tim Grosser.
The stunning result may alter Sam's plans for the future.
He had decided to pursue law, but is now considering mathematics as a career.
"In the summer I attended a maths camp and was really impressed with the teachers as they were all young, 21 and 22, so I am thinking of doing something like that," he said.
Sam will travel to Sydney to attend an awards ceremony where he will be presented with his certificate of achievement.
The future for Sam is bright and as he looks past Year 12, he intends to apply for scholarships to further his studies.
On weekends he plays soccer for the Maclean Bobcats and rows on the Clarence River.