by St Paul's Collegiate School

A journey of confidence

Struggling with low self-confidence a quiet boy has become an assured young man and 22kg’s lighter following his journey at Tihoi.

Ronin Cooper was part of the first intake for Tihoi this year. He arrived at the Venture School filled with concern about the experience he was about to be part of for the next 18 weeks however, as soon as he met the House Tutor his mind was put at rest and the home sickness eased.

“Tihoi was a shock, I have never been in any sort of boarding environment before, but the staff were incredibly comforting, helpful and supportive and the boys in your house become your mates.”

Placed in Molly’s House, Ronin soon felt at home and the boys became one another’s support. Ronin had a unique way of rolling his clothes which meant he never had to redo his shelves in Molly’s House, unlike some of the other boys and when it was time to pack he was ready to go in two minutes!

Managing time was a big part of the journey, “You can’t just chill out once you get back from a tramp, there is gear to unpack, equipment to scrub and washing to be done. You certainly learn to appreciate the small things, like your free time on Sundays.”

Ronin and his housemates were the envy of the other houses with their great firewood stash. On one outing Ronin caught two snapper and a Kahawai whilst fishing. He brought them home with the housemates and they decided to cook them for dinner, however unfortunately their skills for chopping wood far outweighed their ability to cook fish!

The biggest challenge for Ronin at Tihoi turned out not to be missing his family, but his fitness. With some off-track bush bashing whilst on house tramps and the early morning runs, Ronin started to notice things were getting a little easier for him. Thinking he was just gaining fitness it was only once he stepped on a set of scales that the reality of his achievements were acknowledged. “I lost 22kg whilst at Tihoi and have lost 25kg in total.”

As Ronin’s mum reminds him, he is not here due to privilege but privileged to be here. “Tihoi has made me more self-confident as a person, helped me lose an exponential amount of weight and taught me how to work together with others. I will be forever grateful for this opportunity to attend St Paul’s.”