For the second year in a row, Sophia Elisapeta Lupe Laurenson took out the top prize in her class when she was named dux of Year 10 at McAuley High School in Otahuhu, Auckland, New Zealand.
Born in Samoa, Sophia hails from the villages of Lufilufi, Lepea, Vaimoso and Papauta.
A former pupil of Montessori in Tiapapata, Sophia went to live in New Zealand at an early age, attending Papatoetoe East Primary School and Howick Intermediate before choosing McAuley High School as her secondary school.
McAuley High School is a school for girls, of approximately 800 pupils, 98% of whom are Polynesian.
Sophia received awards for being first in English, first in Social Studies, first in Religious Education, the Dean’s Award in Leadership and the top prize of General Excellence.
Sophia was surprised that her father Moananu had travelled from Samoa to be present for the occasion.
“I didn’t know he was coming, which was just as well because I already felt the pressure to succeed having been the dux of Year 9 the previous year,” she said.
Added Moananu: “Living and working in Samoa I missed out on her prize-giving last year, and I reasoned she might be amongst the awards this year, and so booked a fare just in case.
Even if she didn’t win an award my prize would have been to see my daughter anyway. We give thanks to the good Lord for Sophia’s continuing success.”
Amongst her rewards for her success were her favourite taro chips and her loupe seeds!
Sophia will now travel to Canada to visit family before returning to Samoa with her father for the second part of her school holidays.