Determined student leader 'embodies Marist spirit'

TOP NOTCH: Noah Lockett-Turton came through a brain tumour and is now head boy at St John’s College in Hamilton.
TOP NOTCH: Noah Lockett-Turton came through a brain tumour and is now head boy at St John’s College in Hamilton.

A rare brain tumour meant Noah Lockett-Turton missed one year of high school, but that did not stop him becoming head boy at St John's College in Hamilton.

The 17-year-old is in remission and says his experience drove him to excel.

During his first term at St John's College as a year 9 he began to get headaches that made him feel like his "head was about to explode".

"I initially thought it was because of the summer heat. But as time went on I got increasingly sore, unbalanced and ill," he said. "The pressure in my head was so strong I would walk around with my head tilted to the side. I began vomiting every morning and by the end of the first term I had missed the majority of school."

By term two he was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour. Brain surgery, radiation and chemotherapy left him with partial hearing loss, poorly functioning kidneys, stunted growth and constant double vision.

He also had to relearn how to walk.

During that time he dreamed of getting back into football, waterpolo and karate, and "just being normal again".

Somehow he kept up with his schoolwork, helped by St John's College staff and the Northern Health School.

"It just had to be done, so had to get done. St John's College prayed for me every day when I was away. My dean and some teachers visited my house with gifts and meals for my family.

"When I returned to class and was bald from the treatment, they bought me a beanie to wear; the other students all looked out for me and no-one mocked me."

At school he went back into the extension class, with a philosophy that life was to be lived to the fullest. He soon had his eye on the head boy role, and said he thrived on responsibility and enjoyed stepping up to take the lead.

When it was announced he had the position this year, he was humbled.

"I was sort of . . . shaking a little bit. I was quite honoured and surprised, to be honest, because there's so many good candidates in my year."

The school was proud to have Lockett-Turton as a student leader, principal Shane Tong said. "We are all in awe of him as an individual. Not only does he have leadership ability, but tremendous compassion and empathy."

Lockett-Turton made a fantastic head boy and embodied the Marist spirit of the Catholic secondary school, he said.

As well as being St John's College head boy, Lockett-Turton is the CanTeen Waikato branch president.

He wants to study towards a master's in business management at Waikato University and eventually have his own business.

Waikato Times