Twenty-five-year-old Jozef Maynard Borja Erece, was the youngest law graduate in the world and the youngest licensed, practicing lawyer in the world at 18.
He is already a senior ranked commercial litigator and dispute resolution expert at Corney and Lind law firm in Brisbane, Australia where he represents clients locally at the Magistrates, District, and Supreme Courts and is highly sought after to represent clients internationally in disputes against multinational private companies like Mercedes Benz and international alliances like NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).
His track record is matched only by his academic credentials. Jozef completed a Master of Corporate Law (Magna Cum Laude equivalent) in nine months from the University of Cambridge and also served as the first Filipino to hold an associate editor position at the Cambridge Law Review in 2021, the longest established university journal in the United Kingdom.
He completed a Bachelor of Laws in three years, a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Studies (Summa Cum Laude equivalent), a Master of Laws with High Distinction (Summa Cum Laude equivalent) from the Australian National University in ten months, a Credential of Readiness in Business Analytics, Economics for Managers and Financial Accounting from Harvard University in three months.
He is also a product of the now-defunct Stanford Education Program for Gifted Youth. He advocates for reading for the rights of the audience at the Bars of England and Wales, New York, and Queensland. A feat was never before done in law history for somebody so young.
The Psychology Centre in Hamilton, New Zealand tested Jozef's IQ using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children III (WISC III) at seven years old to guide his academic plan. His verbal IQ scale was off the charts and his full-scale IQ score (FSIQ) was officially recorded to be at the ceiling of the standard IQ scores. He was also tested using the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test II (WIAT II).
The results indicated performance and achievement at a very superior level to same-age children. He was also evaluated against same grade level children to account for academic acceleration and the results were found to be similar. Educational psychologists and lead educators concluded that Jozef is profoundly gifted with an IQ beyond the 160 limit.
Aside from excelling in his academics, Jozef is also a black belt in taekwondo and an accomplished basketball player.
Jozef holds a third Dan black belt from the Kukkiwon World Taekwondo Headquarters in Korea and is the youngest local instructor of that martial art.
Taekwondo blackbelt (3rd degree)
He started martial arts training at five years old in Tokoroa, New Zealand under Instructor Kevin Pye. He was awarded his black belt at eight years old by New Zealand Olympic coach, 8th Dan Black belt Grand Master Jin Kuen Oh from the Kukkiwon World Taekwondo Federation in South Korea, and was the youngest member of the New Zealand Demonstration team for Olympic Taekwondo.
At fourteen years old, he became the youngest New Zealand taekwondo instructor by teaching adult classes at Sejong Taekwondo based at Waikato University in Hamilton, New Zealand. He competed in numerous full contact age group events since he was six years old and placed second in the regional championships in 2002 held at Taneatua, New Zealand. Jozef trained with the New Zealand Olympic taekwondo team under Grand Master Oh and Master Kesi O'Neill until was awarded a third-degree black belt in July 2010.
Standing at 186 cm, Jozef was a highly recruited basketball point guard. The 6-foot-two-inches became the youngest player to play in the semi-professional Greater Brisbane League Gold tournament and has been invited to play for the Nike All-Australian tour to the United States.
He was the team captain for the champion St. Johns College Blue in Hamilton, New Zealand. He was voted in the Mythical Selection team for the New Zealand Junior Secondary Championships held in Rotorua, New Zealand in 2013. He also captained the Waikato U15 rep teams and played in the U-15 Filipino team for Hamilton. In his final year in New Zealand, he led the St. John's Senior Blue Team to the Regional Pool Championships.
He trained but did not play due to scheduling constraints with the famed Philippine Junior national team which placed second in the Asian Junior Basketball championships. A highly recruited athlete, he was invited for "walk-on" trials with attached academic scholarships by various US NCAA Division I universities. Athletic scholarships were offered by coaches and agents from Manila-based universities to play for the UAAP and the Philippine NCAA.
A gifted athlete, Jozef holds the current Acceleration Australia record for no-step vertical jump for fifteen-year-old athletes (all sports) that still holds today.
Jozef was the top player in the St. Johns Chess team that played in the North Island Championships held in St. Paul's College, Hamilton in 2011. The youngest player at board one, he competed and won against nationally ranked senior chess players in the country while playing in his sophomore year.
Jozef published his first fantasy short novel, The Grand Powers, at eight years old. It was sold through a local Cambridge bookstore and was made available for circulation at the New Zealand Public Library system for general circulation. Since then, Jozef has written various pieces including Syzygy and One, Starlight Legacies. The five-star rated books are available for purchase on Amazon and Kindle.
He is also an accomplished violinist, having performed with the Waikato Youth Orchestra and Saint John's Sacred Heart College combined Orchestra in New Zealand.
Jozef started learning the violin at six years old with Mrs. Sue Dobree from Cambridge, New Zealand. He participated in various Youth symphony orchestras as a violinist. He entered secondary school as an academic and a music scholar at St. Johns College and played for the combined secondary school's symphony orchestra.
A gifted musician, he made his first musical composition at six years old as an addendum to the song "Twinkle. twinkle Little star" for his sister's (Maynah Borja Erece) first birthday claiming that the song was incomplete.
He went through formal music training and testing through Trinity College, London. Today, Jozef continues to play music through church-based ministry.
The Republic of the Philippines House of Representatives during their sixteenth congress filed House Resolution number 2072 resolved to give Jozef a congressional commendation and congratulations for graduating law at 18 in Australia. This was passed on May 6, 2014, by the House of Representatives, Quezon City, Philippines. During the filing of the resolution, comments were floated that by the scope and scale of his gifts and talents, he may arguably be the "the most prodigious modern-day Filipino child prodigy."
Meet his gifted and talented sister
Twenty-year-old, Maynah Lourellen Josephine Borja Erece, his sister, is also in her final year on an academic and merit scholarship. She is about to complete a double degree, a Bachelor of Science major in Psychology, and a Bachelor of Arts major in Creative Writing in three and a half years.
She is a scholar, an academic, a writer, a ballerina, a contemporary dance choreographer, and twice-exceptional. She was the subject of the study titled - "Yes, Dad. I can hear you, I'm choosing to ignore you.", during the 2019 World Council for Gifted and Talented Children World Conference in an open conference peer review at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.
She presented and discussed her case in front of world experts in gifted and talented education. In 2018, she was given the notable achievement award from the Electorate of Jordan, Queensland, Australia for her academic achievements.
She has performed on stage in "Life is a Cabaret" and "Foxy and Roro", attended Queensland Ballet under Li Cunxin (Mao's Last Dancer), and has done bit parts in Hollywood movies. She is the subject of many twice-exceptional published academic references internationally and is currently in the works of producing her first stage production scheduled at the end of 2022.
Meet the proud parents
Dr. Maynard Victor "Thoots" Erece (an educator) and Dr. Josephine Ana "Jo-Ann" Borja Erece (medical doctor) are the proud parents of these two profoundly gifted and talented children. They were born, grew up, and were schooled in the Baguio City educational system.
Thoots grew up and went to Magsaysay Elementary School in New Lucban. His father is the late prosecutor and criminal lawyer, Atty. Victorio Erece married Eleanor Minano.
Jo-Ann, on the other hand, is the beautiful and intelligent daughter of the late District Engr. Restituto Borja and Lourdes Soberano. She was the class Valedictorian at Saint Louis Centre.
They met at the University of the Philippines, Baguio City in 1985, fell in love, and got married at St. Joseph Church in Pacdal. They later emigrated to New Zealand in 1996, where their beautiful children were born, and then to Australia in 2012.
Their relations still live in Baguio City and they look forward to 2022 to see how much further, higher, and faster their academic journey that started in Baguio City will go!