by NZ CATHOLIC staff
St Paul’s College student Sione Pole has outclassed more than 300 Pasifika and Maori applicants throughout New Zealand to win the Auckland University Chancellor’s Scholarship, valued up to $50,000.
Sione is the eighth of nine children and the second to go to university. His dream is to become a rheumatologist. He had already been offered a place in the medical programme at Otago University, but
chose an offer from Auckland University.
He will initially study a conjoint degree in health science and commerce. He said his inspiration for medicine began early, with his father immobilised by arthritis and his younger brother contracting
rheumatic fever. Seeing the care and compassion of doctors and medical staff made a lasting impression.
Sione acknowledged that his success has been the result of discipline and hard work. Apart from study nights hidden away in the Auckland University library from 6pm to 11pm most nights — often missing dinner — his duties as deputy head boy, his leadership with Young Vinnies, achieving a silver medal in the
Duke of Edinburgh Award, his cultural leadership of the Tongan group and being the vice-captain of the 1st XV, made for a full year.
He attributes his success to many things, including the support and inspiration of his family, and the teachers at St Paul’s.
“They would meet you where you were at and then push you from there,” Sione said.
He explained that he would keep his own little quotes in his back pocket. His favourite: “Work in silence and let your success speak for itself.”
Another St Paul’s student, Philip Ega, has been awarded the Auckland University of Technology Vice Chancellor Scholarship for Secondary Schools, covering three years of tuition at $15,000.
His joy at receiving the AUT scholarship was matched by his surprise to learn his mother had travelled from the Solomon Islands to attend the senior prizegiving after a four year separation. On hearing
the news of the award, he admits, “I was crying I was so happy”.
Philip has elected to study health science and podiatry.
He confessed that, at times, the candle would be burning till 1am. His secret to success, he said: Learn to say no to temptation and to sacrifice social events to study, when necessary. He confided that his little brother saved him from his biggest temptation — the PlayStation — more than once.
Philip has made a significant contribution to St Paul’s College and to the wider community. He was the school’s halfback and co-captain in the 1st XV and played cricket, and gained a silver medal in the
Duke of Edinburgh Award.