League player balances books and ball
Achieving academically and on the sports field is a rare gift.
But Vodafone Warriors development team member and St Pauls College head boy Michael Sio is just happy to make his parents proud.
The 17-year-old New Zealand-born Samoan lives in Waterview and has five siblings.
His interest in rugby league began at just five years old when his father, who was a rugby union man, took him down to the Marist club in Mt Albert.
"My father got me into league because he wanted someone in the family to experience a different code of rugby since he loved union," Sio says.
He has now been a part of the Warriors development system for four years and dreams of playing for the big boys.
"One of my dreams is to play for the NRL Warriors team," he says.
But Sio says sports can only take you so far in life - academic studies are significant too.
"My studies are more important.
"My parents said to me as I grew up, `Sports will only take you so far but an education will take you your whole life'," he says.
Sio has taken his parents' words to heart and studied hard alongside his numerous league training sessions.
Last year he was awarded dux for year 12 and received merit for his level 2 NCEA. He was also awarded junior dux in year 10 and has many other certificates at home for doing well at school.
But Sio says being at the top and getting awards does not make him feel smarter than his peers.
"I don't think I'm the top of the class all the time, I just keep quiet and study."
The future is still not set for the teenager, who has not decided on what he wants to do after he finishes school.
"When I grow up, I'm not quite sure what I want to do.
"Maybe something in economics, I feel that's one of my strong points," he says.
"But I see myself studying at uni next year and I know I'll be playing sport still."
Sio says finding a balance between studying and playing sport is sometimes a bit difficult.
"I try to balance my sport and studies because sport will always be a part of me."
St Pauls principal Mark Rice says Sio is a student the school is very proud of.
"He is a hard worker, passionate, tough, courageous, of good character and is a team player.
"These same qualities will see him be successful in his university studies and future career."
Auckland City Harbour News