Quinn Gray: a passion for literature and language

Date: 21 Jul 2023

Quinn Gray was Dux at Dilworth in 2019 and in the same year, was New Zealand’s top scholar for English – an incredible accomplishment. He said it was at Dilworth he discovered his love of literature and language. In 2020 Quinn started a conjoint degree in English and Law at Auckland University but he says it didn’t take him long to realise he was spending more time on literature and language!

“When I started university, I was studying law, but it didn’t take long for me to rediscover the passions that Dilworth helped me find”.

His overriding interest in literature and language then led him to study a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Psychology and English, from which he graduated this year.  But his studies are far from over as Quinn is now studying for an honours degree in English.

Quinn said that at Dilworth he was encouraged to read great books and then talk about them “Kafka and Keats are probably the writers I first loved. Sir Ronald Syme, a New Zealand classicist, had a writing style and attitude that inspired me and his book, the Roman Revolution, stands out. Quinn credits Dilworth’s teachers with a supportive attitude “Dilworth teachers are great at encouraging students to do their best and achieve. Ms Boudreau (Head of Learning Area – English) was very encouraging and inspiring,” he adds.

He also credits the close friendships he formed at Dilworth with motivating him. “Being around each other for so many years forms close bonds, and those friendships can be inspiring and motivating”.

A recipient of the Staples Education Foundation Scholarship, Quinn feels privileged to have received support and encouragement from the Staples Education Foundation and is very grateful to Haydn Staples, the Staples Education Board, his mentors, and sponsors.

The Staples Education Foundation scholarship provides financial support of $5,000 per year and a critical support framework to help students succeed at university and beyond. Staples students are given networking opportunities and are matched with a mentor and a dedicated buddy. There is also ongoing training through the Support and Development Programme.

For Quinn having a mentor during his time at university was incredibly helpful “My mentor Graeme Clark has been a source of support and encouragement for me for years. He also helped to expand and refine my appreciation for literature and music. Having a role model to look up to and someone to turn to is helpful. Even though the tenure of the scholarship has ended for me, I continue to be in touch with my mentor”.

He also noted many other elements of the scholarship provided by the Staples Foundation such as attending networking events, financial support, and the fortnightly meetings with Karen Bennett, the General Manager, which he considered “a helpful source of support and security”. He also said it was great to have Oscar Read assigned as a buddy to help him through his first year at university.

Quinn is interested in continuing the academic pathway but also loves writing. Either way, he wants to be able to contribute meaningfully to the academic or literary world in the future. But above all hopes that he can be “the good and useful citizen that James Dilworth wanted us to be’’.