This year’s Altrusa Youth Award recipient is awarded to the diversely talented St Paul’s Collegiate School community member Matthew Chanwai (Year 12). The Altrusa Youth Awards recognise Year 12 students from around the Waikato who excel in school life and are considered role models within their community.
Matthew is a warm, welcoming, and motivated young man who epidermises what the Altrusa Youth Award acknowledges. He is courteous, shows initiative, is involved in community work in and out of school, excels in sporting and cultural activities, and is a solid academic.
As someone who demonstrates the importance of putting others first, Matthew’s peers describe him as a polite person who welcomes, shows respect, interacts, and greets everyone regardless of age or standing.
His positive attitude is apparent in his commitment to school work by demonstrating a focused attitude towards all extra-curricular activities and academia. Matthew strives to realign his mindset towards a constructive, pragmatic, and optimistic perspective when failure prevails.
Service and community work are undeniably a pivotal parts of Matthew’s life. He makes every effort to offer his time where necessary, particularly over the last four years in the Over the Fence programme, where students spend selected lunchtimes with Fairfield Primary Students assisting them with reading. Matthew is one of the school volunteers who visit the St Joan’s Rest Home and Hospital to teach ukulele and art. Over Christmas time, Matthew volunteered at the Hamilton Christian Foodbank, delivering parcels. He also did gift wrapping for Volunteering Waikato and assisted with running the Special Children’s Christmas Parties for children with disabilities. In addition, Matthew is a regular participant in the Waikato Hospital Chaplaincy helpers, serves meals at the local food bank, assists in the refugee centre afterschool programme, and plays the organ at school chapel services. In this year’s World Vision 40-Hour Famine, Matthew raised $1,100 for the World Vision organisation. Matthew showed compassionate initiative when he set up a service programme involving the Hamilton Christian Foodbank and St Paul’s Collegiate School students.
In his extra-curricular activities, Matthew is a tenacious swimmer and gifted musician, and his accomplishments pay tribute to the countless hours he has put in. In his swimming, Matthew finished third in Waikato for the 200m medley, had top ten placings at the New Zealand U19 open water 1.25km and 2.5 km races, and won the New Zealand Division II men’s medley race.
Matthew has attained Grade 8 on the organ and piano and his LTCL Diploma for Cello, equivalent to the final year of an undergraduate degree. He is a member of the St Paul’s Chamber Choir, placed third in the NZCT Chamber Music Contest, came second in the American Protégé Winner 2019, 2021, and performed at Carnegie Hall in New York in 2019. Matthew was awarded silver and gold in the London Young Musician Cello Awards and is a member of the NZSS Orchestra.
Matthew is an exceptional academic, achieving NCEA Level 1 with Excellence in 2021 while earning 90% or higher grades in Cambridge International Education Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, and English. Matthew sat NZQA Scholarship Music as a Year 11, gaining an Outstanding grade, placing him in the top 0.35% of all music students. Matthew has already passed NCEA Level 2 with an Excellence endorsement for this year.
Matthew has earned his Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award and is on track to achieve his Gold.
Congratulations to Matthew Chanwai, a very deserving student of the 2022 Altrusa Youth Award recipient.