He didn’t realise it at the time, but when Bishop Lafaele-Pucher was awarded ‘Star of the Day’ on his very first day at ACG Strathallan Primary, it was a sign of things to come.
Now in Year 7, the outstanding allrounder has excelled in virtually every facet of school life. He has received 23 nominations for Pride in Achievement (and won the title at least once a term, every year throughout Primary). He has aced every single swimming event that he has entered, this year breaking two school records and earning the title of Year 7 champion. Plus, he’s won the school cross country four times, athletics twice, and has represented ACG Strathallan in swimming, cross country and athletics, in addition to rippa, tag and touch rugby.
And as if that’s not enough, Bishop is a great leader (he was voted Angus House Captain for 2020) and a talented musician, singer and performer. He plays piano, drums, saxophone, ukulele, recorder and marimba. He was selected for a lead role in the school’s production of Aladdin, having never acted or sung solo before, and was in this year’s performance of Grease. Better still, after auditioning for a rap solo in Big Aroha, he secured the chance to sing with Jackie Clark and Nathan King at the Vodafone Events Centre in front of a 2000-strong crowd.
It’s fair to say Bishop has the Midas touch – but these phenomenal achievements don’t come without a considerable amount of hard work, determination and enthusiasm.
“I’m very proud of everything I have achieved,” says Bishop, who describes his nationality as Māori, Samoan, Austrian and German with a little bit of Jewish added to the mix.
“Many people say that I’m naturally good at things, but I know that everything I do takes a lot of hard work and effort. This can also be said for a lot of the students at ACG Strathallan.”
Bishop attributes his extraordinary success to a healthy dollop of confidence, a positive attitude, and an extremely supportive family.
“It’s a team effort! I love my family very much as they support me in whatever I do. They are very funny, loveable and just amazing. I love being a student at ACG Strathallan. I have fantastic friends (some of whom I met at the age of three when I started in the Junior Preschool), the school has enabled me to develop great leadership skills, and I really enjoy all the fun and learning.”
Ask him what his favourite subject is, and he replies, “Chinese, Spanish, maths, English, drama and dance, PE, sports, art, music, ICT and social science. Oh, that’s everything, right?!”
During lockdown, Bishop launched his own online fitness classes. While the initial aim was to help his friends stay fit, news of the sessions quickly spread, and prefects, teachers and their families soon joined in. This year he hopes to start running fitness classes at school as a fundraising initiative and has set his sights on taking out the overall Year 7 Pride in Achievement award as he continues to excel across all his other activities.
“I try hard in everything I do, whether it’s something new or something I’ve been doing for a while. My mum and dad often tell me how hard I work, but I don’t really notice that part as I enjoy it all so much!”