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Rotorua Boys' High School - the home of the new Jonah Lomu Scholarship

The legacy of rugby great Jonah Lomu will live on at Rotorua Boys’ High School, with the school being selected as the only secondary school in New Zealand to provide a newly launched scholarship in his name.

The Jonah Lomu Scholarship, launched by his wife Nadene and his sons Brayley and Dhyreille, is a full-fees boarding scholarship that will be awarded each year to an outstanding young man entering Year 11 in the next school year and will run for up to three years at Rotorua Boys’ High School before the student transitions to tertiary study or a career pathway. It will mean the successful student will receive placement in Rotorua Boys’ High School’s boarding facility and will have all school-related fees met. The recipient of the scholarship will also receive Jonah Lomu merchandise.

“The Jonah Lomu scholarship is being offered to a secondary student knowing they are at an age where they are faced with adversity and many pressures,” Nadene said.

Rotorua Boys’ High School was selected because of the relationship Lomu had with the principal Chris Grinter, who was Lomu’s mentor while a student at Auckland’s Wesley College and his 1st XV rugby coach.

Nadene said she had seen the impact Chris Grinter’s role had played in Jonah’s life.

“I know it’s something Jonah would be in full support of so I’d like to help give someone else the same guidance towards a pathway to chasing their dreams just like Jonah had when he was of similar age,” Nadene said.

“Chris’ role as deputy principal [at Wesley College] played a significant role in Jonah’s life. Chris mentored Jonah during a time when he faced many difficulties. His guidance helped Jonah channel his frustrations, providing a more positive way for Jonah to deal with them.

“Jonah was always grateful to Chris which is why we both thought it only fitting to have asked Chris to write the forward in his biography JONAH - My Story.”

Grinter describes working with Lomu during his high school years as one of the highlights of his career in education and appreciated the opportunity to honour his legacy well into the future through this scholarship.

“I think it is a great honour that we were chosen by Nadene and we are very happy to build this into something special for our school,” Grinter said.

“Jonah was a wonderfully talented athlete and a hard-working student who, over his high school years, developed his natural talent and potential to become arguably the greatest rugby player ever.”

It wasn’t only Grinter that had the connection with Lomu, Rotorua Boys’ High School did also.

“As a school we have had a relationship with Jonah when he was a member of the Wesley 1st XV. In one game in 1993 he scored five tries and said to me, as the RBHS 1st XV coach, after the game ‘I knew you would want me to play well’. I replied ‘sure, but you didn’t need to play that well’.

“Jonah also spent a day with us after that in his All Blacks years talking with assemblies and staff and that too was certainly memorable. A signed jersey of his is on display in our school.”

Applications for the Jonah Lomu Scholarship are due by September 30 each year. The successful applicant will be selected by Nadene and Grinter.

Nadene said attributes she would be looking for included a desire to achieve, being hard working, caring, understanding, respectful and be able to share how they had overcome adversity in some form.

“I think it’s the simple attributes that can really make a difference; not only in being a good person, but making a difference in society too. I would like to see these as being prominent attributes in the successful applicant.”

“Our school has a proven record of producing outstanding young men across all programmes of the school. We will ensure our Jonah Lomu Scholarship holder does the same, and in academic life as well as in sport,” Grinter said.

“I believe by being provided with a focused pathway at Rotorua Boys’ High it is an invaluable asset moving forward in life,” Nadene said.

Raukura’s director of boarding Sam Cameron said he was looking forward to supporting the future Jonah Lomu Scholarship recipients to be successful in their school lives and beyond.

“We aim for all of our Raukura boarding students to be successful, confident and enthusiastic in all areas of the school, academically, culturally and in sport,” Cameron said.

“Boarding students are able to focus on their school achievements in a safe, secure and positive environment, encouraged and supported by staff. Many students thrive in this environment and as a school we will ensure the Jonah Lomu Scholarship recipients will also reach their full potential.

“Many of our past boarding students have gone on to become valuable members of the community and excelling in their varied areas of expertise and our current students are working hard to do the same.”

Applications are now open and anyone who wants to apply can do so by personal statement and CV addressed to Principal Chris Grinter, Rotorua Boys’ High School, 1632 Pukuatua St, Utuhina, 3015, PO Box 10148 or via email at cgrinter@rbhs.school.nz.

Nadene said she hoped the inaugural recipient in 2022 and every recipient in the future will see the full potential in what is being offered to them, gain confidence, have pride in themselves and take ownership of creating their own success story.

“I hope they believe in themselves even more than they did prior to the scholarship, knowing they can achieve anything they set their mind to and being a recipient of the RBHS Jonah Lomu scholarship is a fantastic start.”

 

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