Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Never give up on street kids

from w
A feel-good story was in today's Fiji Times about a street-kid going back to school and doing well. Another article was about his school - Lami High School which has been criticized for not producing outstanding results all around. Come on guys - don't blame the teachers. Someone in the Education Department wants to shuffle teachers around based on the kids' results! This school apparently takes in kids who might not be accepted elsewhere and if a kid goes from a D to a C well that's okay. Not all kids will get lots of A results. Anyway, congratulations to this young man.

Former shoeshine boy tops schoolERNEST HEATLEY
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
A FORMER shoeshine boy who spent two and a half years roaming the streets of Sura was named Dux of the Year at Lami High School yesterday.

Maikeli Pio Bale, 19, topped the school in four subjects Agriculture, English, Chemistry and Biology. He said he was motivated by his street struggles and encouraged by his grand-uncle, who adopted him when he was a child after his parents split up. "I just thought of all the struggles I had while I was in that situation and I thought to myself that I had the potential to go in the opposite direction and achieve whatever I want," he said.

Having come from a broken family, Maikeli was moved from school to school and spent time in his village of Tukavesi at Buca Bay in Vanua Levu about three years ago.

In 2000, he was beaten up by soldiers for breaking a curfew. Two years later, he was pulled off the streets by his granduncle and made to sit for his intermediate exam which he passed. But he returned to the streets and started shining shoes for a living and sleeping rough.

Eventually, Maikeli said he learnt the error of his ways and, like a prodigal son, returned home, went back to school and started going to church regularly. "I still meet my street-kid friends in town once in a while. They try to influence me back but I just tell them to go back to school," he said. Maikeli has now set his sights on becoming a primary school teacher.

His granduncle, Saimoni Naqete, a carpenter by trade, was a proud and a shocked man yesterday. He said Maikeli never told him how well he was doing in school.

He said he never gave up hope on his adopted child, despite his waywardness. "He was a street kid on and off for two and a half years but even while he was like that, I used to keep advising him that it was not the right way to go,'' said Mr Naqete. "Just looking at what he has achieved today is amazing because he never even told me how he had been doing in school. I came to the prize-giving not expecting to see him collect so many prizes."


nzm said...

Ah that's a great story.

Congratulations to Maikele - may he achieve his dreams and go on to be one of the best teachers in the world - with the added knowledge that all his life experiences have given to him.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

It's great when you see students doing well, becoming motivated or passionate about a subject and having goals in life.
Other High School principals - such as from Ba have come into the discussion about the criticism of teachers which is fair enough.