Carpe Diem - Seize the day! Jean-Luc Ellis, Class of 2019

Date: 08 Jul 2024

Ed Whiffin, Event and Community Engagement Manager with Dilworth’s Advancement Team talks to a young alumnus five years out from leaving Dilworth. He finds out what he's been up to, and it's been a lot.

Jean-Luc Ellis, Class of 2019, has seized every opportunity and forged his own path. Raised on the North Shore by his resilient mother, Jean-Luc's journey to Dilworth and beyond is a testament to his determination and the transformative power of education. 

He eagerly arrived at Dilworth Junior Campus in Year 7. Despite an initial reluctance towards sports, he found himself drawn into the camaraderie of school life, discovering a passion for running during a transformative year at the (then) Rural Campus in Year 9.

Transitioning to Dungannon House at the Senior Campus in Year 10, Jean-Luc's love for science flourished, and he envisioned a future in physics or chemistry. However, a serendipitous turn led him to explore drama, a decision that would prove pivotal in building his confidence and self-belief. By the time he reached Year 13, he had earned a Drama Scholarship and the role of Prefect, reflecting his dedication and leadership within the school community.

Summing up his Dilworth experience in three words—opportunity, family, and excelling—Jean-Luc emphasises the school's ethos of nurturing individual potential. The supportive environment and emphasis on personal growth laid the foundation for his academic and personal development.

After receiving a Staples Education Foundation (SEF) scholarship to support him in his tertiary studies and life beyond Dilworth's green gates, Jean-Luc embarked on a journey that blended his passion for science with his entrepreneurial vision. Initially pursuing studies in physics and chemistry at Auckland University, he made a bold pivot towards Law, seeing it as his true calling. During a summer break, a chance opportunity for work was offered to him by his SEF mentor, and this sparked the inception of his first business venture, providing labouring personnel for the construction industry alongside Dilworth classmate and business partner Kellen Dudley-Rode.

Their entrepreneurial spirit didn't stop there. Recognising the environmental and economic implications of construction waste, Jean-Luc and his partners established Wastexpert, a company dedicated to revolutionising waste management in the construction sector. Through innovation and dedication, they secured contracts with local councils and major retailers, propelling their venture to new heights.

Reflecting on his Dilworth journey, Jean-Luc acknowledges the invaluable support he received from Dilworth, particularly the support he received after leaving school from Neil Ritchie, Young Alumni Officer, and the amazing support from the Staples Education Foundation.

The sense of community and the belief instilled in him at Dilworth—that he could excel at anything if he set his mind to it—continue to inspire his endeavours. Now, as a mentor himself for SEF, Jean-Luc imparts his wisdom to the next generation, urging them to embrace every opportunity and embrace change. Carpe diem—Seize the day! He remains committed to giving back to Dilworth, appreciating now the profound impact the school and its community had on his own successes.