Filipino prodigy law graduate in Australia at 18
MANILA, Philippines – Filipino prodigy Jozef Erece became one of the youngest recipients of a law degree in the world at just 18 years old.
He graduated last Friday, April 17, from the University of Southern Queensland in Australia "at the age most students leave high school," according to The Chronicle.
"Whether through law, commerce, politics, the academia or otherwise, my humanist aspiration to precipitate empirically positive change will remain a constant," he told the newspaper.
A profile feature – shared with his sister – at the Australian Scholarships Group says "he holds the distinction of being the youngest lawyer to graduate at 18 years in the southern hemisphere."
Aside from this, the Filipino wonder is a Taekwondo black-belter, a semi-professional basketball player, and an orchestra violinist.
Erece's aspirations of becoming a lawyer started when Waikato University School of Law in New Zealand invited him to be the youngest law entrant on record. He entered law school in 2012.
Prior to this, he graduated Dux (valedictorian) at St. Peter’s Catholic School in Cambridge — becoming the first ever student of Asian descent to achieve it in the school’s 75-year history.
At the age of 10, he wrote an essay and sent it to Stanford University. As a result, he was invited to move to the United States to skip high school and enter Stanford.
Within weeks, London’s Oxford University also sent him an invite, this time to take their Maths and Physics program.
Despite these offers, he stayed in Australia to pursue law.
Other fields of interest
Born and raised 5,000 miles away from the Philippines, Jozef never fails to look back to his roots here. Every 5 years, his family comes home to spend time with their relatives.
“There’s this feeling of real love and real connection for me with the Philippines. I may have grown up in New Zealand but my heart stays at home: the Philippines,” Jozef had told Rappler in an exclusive interview back in 2013.
His basketball credentials include captaining the Saint John's College senior team to a regional championship, copping the MVP trophy in the process. He later skippered the Waikato University Under-17 squad.
After that, Jozef brought his wares to Australia, where he first became back-to-back MVP for the Springfield Brumbies in the Ipswich City league before turning heads when he received an invitation to join the Nike All-Australian tour to the United States.
He was the youngest athlete competing at the Greater Brisbane League Gold, a semi-pro level tournament in Australia. He has since been invited to play for the New Zealand National Team and Queensland (AUS) but turned it down to avoid complications when he tried out to play for the Philippines.
Jozef is also 3rd Dan Black belt holder of the Kukkiwon World Taekwondo Headquarters in Korea. He became a member of New Zealand’s Olympic demonstration team when he was just 9 years old. He later on became an instructor at the Waikato University Taekwondo Club. – With reports from Danielle Nakpil/Rappler.com