Whoever said sports and school cannot go together would be disappointed with what St. Theresa Primary School 2017 Dux, Napoleon Stanley, accomplished at the age of 13.
Stanley topped three subjects at the school including mathematics and went on to be the top student.
He achieved all these in the same year he was the captain for the Rugby Academy Samoa U14 team.
Stanley says there’s no secret in his success.
“I guess you just have to love school as much as you love rugby,” he said.
“I loved playing for R.A.S. but I also know focusing on my education was important for me and my parents,” he added.
Stanley is one of Asiata Leon and Victoria Stanley’s eight children. His younger sister, Fouina Emily Stanley, had also topped her Year 5 class at St. Theresa.
Asiata says his son’s achievement is the first from his kids.
“His older siblings had always been in top 10, top five, but never a dux. That is why this is a big deal to his mother and I,” he said.
“I think this marks how far Leon can go in his next step as a young man,” he added.
Speaking of next step, Leon was awarded a scholarship from St. Joseph’s college that covers all years of college. However, the scholarship comes with criteria.
“The terms are that he has to remain within top three in school all throughout his time at St. Joe. If he falls out of that he loses the scholarship,” Asiata told the Samoa Observer.
When Samoa Observer asked Asiata if this may be too much pressure for a 13-year-old to handle he says: “Leon is the kind of kid that likes a challenge.
“He’s got the potential; I’ve seen it as a parent. He can definitely do it, but that takes determination and hard work,” he said.
Stanley though says his passion for rugby is something he wants to pursue.
Despite being a maths whiz himself, he says playing at the No.8 for the U14 national side for R.A.S. is still important to him.
The R.A.S. U14 won their first ever international test with North Shore U14 earlier this year with Stanley at the helm as captain of the young team.
St. Josephs has a proactive rugby programme along with academics. Stanley says his plan is to take on a back’s role once he’s back on the pitch with his new school.