Former Dropout Returns To Scoop Major Awards

Lawrence dropped out of school three years ago when he was in Year 7. His journey was not easy, however, he was determined not to not let go of education as he knew it was the only gateway out of poverty.
27 Feb 2022 11:45
Former Dropout Returns To Scoop Major Awards
Lawrence Biuwale, Nakasi High School 2021 Principal's award overall recipient with his step-mu Sereima and father Saniala Biuwale at Nakasi High School on February 25, 2022. Photo: Ronald Kumar

He had been packing groceries and lifting heavy bags of food at a supermarket to help his fam­ily amid the COVID-19 pan­demic.

But on Friday, Lawrence Biu­wale packed the biggest award of his life thus far.

The 21-year-old headboy of Nakasi High School yesterday made his parents and teachers proud when he walked up to receive his Principal’s Over­all Award, Leadership Award, Queen’s Commonwealth Award, and Bronze Essay Award.

Lawrence dropped out of school three years ago when he was in Year 7.  His journey was not easy, however, he was determined not to let go of education as he knew it was the only gateway out of poverty.

“I dropped out of school when I was 13-years-old after my par­ents got separated in 2013,” he said.

“Seeing my mum and my dad’s differences, I could not go back to school because I became de­pressed and could not cope with studies.

“At first we wanted to go on our own ways and work, but when my brother decided to go to school, a second thought came in my mind.

“We thought it would be good for us to go back to school, some­thing I never thought I would turn back to.

“Working at the supermarket was an eye opening experience for me.

“I learned what life would be like if I did not take education seriously.

“All those hustles to lifting those heavy bags of potatoes and onions changed my perception of hard work.

“If we do not take education seriously, the outcome would be catastrophic.

“All this time I was thinking that hard work was just sitting from 8.30am to 3.20pm, but there is more to it.

“The layback attitude will not take us anywhere.”

For three years, Lawrence sat by his window and reflected on what returning to school would mean for him.

“My mum had a collection of books so I read those and some­times I just sat beside the win­dow,” he said.

“Seeing school students pass by my window, I asked myself a lot of questions.

“If they can go to school then why can’t I?

“If they are trying to strive to­wards best in life, then why can’t I do the same?

“And one day my brother came up to me and asked what I thought about going back to school.

“This thought made me nerv­ous because I had never heard of Nakasi High School before.

“But I made a promise to my­self that I will see this school strive and excel just like some other prominent schools.”

Lawrence believed the support he received from his teachers and peers played a key role to­wards his success.

“The support I received from school was tremendous,” he said.

“The teachers kept on motivat­ing me that age was just a num­ber and that no one can stop me from learning new things.

“Although the pandemic has taken a big toll on our lives, we kept on motivating each other and I thank all Year 13 students for standing by each other.

“Even though some of our par­ents were laid off, we kept on mo­tivating each other; it is through their support that I have made it so far.”

Despite the challenges he faced to study with students younger than him, he fought hard to suc­ceed.

“There were certain students out of school who judged me for my age, but I kept on coming back because I knew that at the end of the day, they are not the ones who will feed my family.”

His message to those who have dropped out of school due to fi­nancial issues and want to con­tinue schooling, was to follow their hearts and achieve their dreams.

Lawrence’s father, Sanaila Biu­wale, 49, said it was a proud mo­ment for him to see his son walk away with many awards.

“Going through the problems over the past years, I never lost hope in him.”


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