Wentworth College student, Matthew Rist, is a talented teenager who has that wonderful balance that New Zealanders aspire to, of being a fantastic sportsman yet also very humble and down-to-earth.
He is quick to smile and laugh, is never riled, and is known by teachers and his peers to be a thoroughly “decent bloke”.
The high-achieving 16-year-old enjoys remarkable success in both his academic studies, and on the water, with an exceptional talent in sailing. Matthew not only received Top of the World honours in the 2020 Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards Ceremony in recognition of his extremely impressive results in his I.G.C.S.E. Physical Education examination, but he also gained A*s in all 7 of his I.G.C.S.E subjects; a fantastic achievement.
When asked what is the main thing that allows him to achieve so highly in both sailing and his exams, Matthew knows that hard work, and a passion for what you do is the key.
“I believe my work ethic and the enjoyment I get from sailing and learning has been crucial and a massive help to managing my time between sport and academics. I pride myself on being able to learn as much as possible in class so my study is only reviewing what has been taught rather than trying to teach myself new concepts at home. Having a passion for what I am doing is the reason behind my success because it allows me to be excited to do it rather than treating it like a chore.”
Matthew makes an effort to balance schoolwork with his sailing and other sports. “I feel through working well in class, it decreases the time needed to study at home. Also by knowing that I only have a limited time to get my school work completed makes me more productive whilst working than I otherwise would be”
When he is not studying or sailing, Matthew really enjoys cycling and basketball. “Cycling is great for my fitness and I get real buzz from being out on the road. Basketball, being a team sport, offers the team environment of sport more so than sailing and cycling which is great for creating bonds and learning to work in a team.”
Wentworth College has always been extremely supportive of Matthew’s involvement in activities outside the school. Matthew credits his teachers with the support he gets, and the chance to work on his fitness.
“Mr Hicks runs Friday morning fitness sessions which are always tough but rewarding. He has also been great to talk to about my sailing and goals which I’ve really appreciated. The sailing programme that the school offers has also shown me a different side of sailing which has benefitted my personal sailing.”
Now a Year 12 student, Matthew is studying Cambridge A.S English Literature, Physics, Mathematics and History. He does not yet know what he would like to study at university saying “I honestly have no clue, apart from it being something that I love.”
He has definitely set himself a target for sailing. “I am aiming to qualify into the Aon FastTrack programme which is a stepping stone towards becoming a part of the NZL Sailing team and going to the Olympics. I’d love to make a profession out of sailing and I am lucky that the sport has so many options where you can be professional.”