Knock down fails to impede attainment
Sanket Balia suffered terrible injuries when struck by a car last year but his first thoughts in his hospital bed were of the crucial time away from his studies at Mana College.
He went on to be one of the school's top scholars for 2012, earning NCEA Level 1 with either merit or excellence in every subject - an impressive feat given the brutal interruption to his exam preparations on August 24.
Sanket was hit by a car while crossing Titahi Bay Rd.
"I was going from home into the city centre to pay a bill. I had no time to react, it happened so fast but I think my leather jacket cushioned my fall. I feel very lucky."
He suffered head and stomach injuries, a broken leg, spent four days in hospital and four weeks out of school recuperating.
But Sanket did not stay idle, with teachers either personally dropping off or emailing him schoolwork so he could stay on top of his subjects.
"I was thinking I would fall back but I really wanted to get up and get going. The school was really good, keeping me updated and they motivated me, saying everything would be all right."
Sanket's family settled in New Zealand from Fiji late in 2011. He says he took the opportunity to attend school here with both hands.
Even after a "lazy" summer, Sanket is savouring the chance to hit the books again, now in year 12.
Mana College principal Mike Webster said Sanket is "a marvellous young guy", thoughts echoed by his business studies teacher Bruce Bennett.
"His achievements are amazing. Even through the obstacles that were put in his path last year, he had such a high level of motivation and he's very able. A fantastic student with a bright future."