When he’s not blitzing his competition on the archery field, Moruya teenager Jaxsen Wells has his sights set on science.
The Year 12 student at Caroll College might be in the midst of his HSC Trial exams, but already has plenty to celebrate after being awarded a prestigious scholarship from the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra.
Competition for the highly-sought after Tuckwell Scholarship is fierce, attracting more than 700 applicants from across the country.
After a weekend of intensive interviews and a prior written application, the 17-year-old won over his selectors and was named one of just 25 recipients for 2019.
Jaxsen will have the opportunity to receive $21,000 per year, for up to five years, to help cover his study costs and will also have access to exclusive academic mentorship and programs.
The money is a means to make uni possible. It’s more about the experience of uni, as opposed to just trying to make ends meetJaxsen Wells
“Over the five years I’m at uni, it’s over $110,000. It’s really helpful and it’s going to make life a lot easier,” Jaxsen said.
“The money is a means to make uni possible. It’s more about the experience of uni, as opposed to just trying to make ends meet – that’s their real goal.
“It’s so you don’t have to work so you can make the most out of the uni experience and be able to give back to ANU.
“For me, uni was just going to be a continuation of school.
“At the moment, I basically work and study. It’s been a recurring cycle of that and it gets monotonous after a while. Now, I’ll get to do what I want to do, rather than what I have to do.
“And it means I won’t be broke for five years straight.”
Several weeks after receiving the news, Jaxsen said his success was yet to completely sink in.
“We haven’t really had (a Tuckwell scholar) from down here before, so it gives a bit of hope to people around here,” Jaxsen said.
“When I applied, I thought, ‘I’m just a rural kid, I might as well apply, but I don’t think much will come of it’. But, here I am.
“There’s a lot of kids from Moruya and the Bay that are really capable but didn’t really think anything like this would be in reach for us.
“I hope they apply for things like this, and I think we now realise it actually is possible, as opposed to all the state selective school kids getting it.”
When I applied, I thought, ‘I’m just a rural kid, I might as well apply, but I don’t think much will come of it’. But, here I am.Jaxsen Wells
The talented student plans to study a Bachelor of Advanced Science and delve into the area of scientific research.
“Maths and science has always been my strong point and what I’ve put my time into,” he said.
“I think it will be cool to do my own research; that’s always been the goal, to do a PhD. The goal is to make an occupation out of research.”
But Jaxsen’s talents aren’t only confined to academia.
In 2016, he won the International Junior Boys title at the World Field Archery competition in Wagga Wagga.
“Having a balance is always good,” he said.
“You can’t study all the time, it doesn’t work that way.
“As much as I’d like to convince myself you can spend all weekend studying without having a break, you can’t.”
The Tuckwell Scholarship was established in 2013 and is funded by the philanthropy of Graham and Louise Tuckwell. It has supported close to 120 students since its inception.
“Each year we receive applications from hundreds of students all around Australia who are seeking support to receive the best education in the country at ANU,” Mr Tuckwell said.
“The Tuckwell Scholarship is designed to help students achieve their goals, and to also instill the values of education, determination and grit that are integral to success in life.”