Leaving School Early: 6 Experiences

6 Experiences from 6 different people about leaving school early.



Baylee Luttrell is 17 years old. She finished school at the end of year 12 and passed NCEA Level 1 & 2 with a merit endorsement. 

“My family and I decided to move to Copenhagen (Denmark) for me to pursue my BMX Career in becoming an Olympian someday. My first 6 months in Europe has been my most successful time in BMX. In the last 6 months I have raced in 7 countries and have competed in the World Championships. Not doing year 13 has been the wisest decision as I could not be a full-time athlete as well as a full time student.”


(Full credit to PDPK for the pic of Baylee)


Taylor McNelly is 20 years old. She left school at 17 during year 13.

“I’ve worked myself up at BurgerFuel starting out as a part-timer to now a Store Manager, managing 11 staff members. The Store Manager hires, fires and everything in-between. I have been lucky enough to travel throughout New Zealand as a result of my job. I didn’t need NCEA level 3 to achieve any of this! My future plan is to study Bachelor of Commerce with a Marketing Major (this will be after I turn 21 so I won’t need uni entrance). In my opinion if you are 100% sure you don’t want to study before 20-21 and are self motivated to make something of yourself, then leave school and get your goals into action.”


Bailey Gallagher is 17 years old. She left school after finishing year 12.

“Instead of doing year 13 this year I did one semester at Waikato Uni (Certificate in University Preparation) and gained University Entrance. I left school because there wasn’t enough subject options for me that would get me into the degree I’m doing next year (Bachelor in Agriscience). Plus I wanted to focus on my sport a little more before I dedicated a few years to study. Advice: be proud of what you’re doing and don’t back out because of what other people think. I was personally told that I wouldn’t get into my course  by the career councillors at school (I passed with all As). I don’t regret leaving early at all because it has also shown me who my real friends are. I found that having a rough plan of what I was going to do gained support from both my friends and family (having a plan can also prevent you from getting stuck in a situation where the end result is you not being able to attend uni at all).”



(I took this pic)


Madison Parker is 17 years old. 

“I left because I hated being treated like a child while expected to act like an adult. I’m doing hairdressing at Wintec. You don’t need NCEA for Wintec, only if you wanted to go to Uni. If I stayed at school I would not be happy and would have been a year behind from where I am now.”


Ethan Linton has recently turned 20 years old & finished high school after year 12.

“NCEA is a waste of time,, I finished school after Level 2. After that I went for my diploma. Now I’m in my last year of my degree for Bachelor of IT Majoring in Networking. I have 3 years work experience in the industry. If I were to do NCEA Level 3 I would be behind a year (my diploma counted as my first year of my degree) .” 


Sophie Esselbrugge is 30 years old & left school 1 term into 6th form (year 12)

“I didn’t fit into the mainstream education system. I was disengaged, bored and frustrated. Since I left I have worked my butt off. I now run a successful business and am about to open a new salon three times the size of my current one. Through this I have been able to give back to the community, enable women to be in community and love on others. I’m also raising a daughter who is kind, strong and brave and will change the world.”

Check out Sophie’s business @littlehairco, both Sophie and Kirsty are amazing at what they do!! Such an inspiring lady!!





*These are other peoples opinions….they are not meant to offend in anyway 🙂



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