The youngest child of Aitutaki residents Nane and Davey Roa, Leo has his eyes set on becoming the first in his family to attend university after a two-year stint at Kings College.
Leo has received a full boarding scholarship for the prestigious school, which will open up a world of opportunities for the young golf, rugby union and league player.
The 16 year old’s sporting talent was first identified in 2009 when he was part of the junior golf development team with Teariki Smith and Antony Turua Jnr.
Since then he regularly commuted to Rarotonga with support from Air Rarotonga and managing director Ewan Smith and eventually became part of the Smith family.
“We got to know Leo when he commuted regularly to Rarotonga and he became another member of the family,” says Ewan Smith.
“Aside from the academic and other opportunities at Kings, he obviously gets a chance at Auckland secondary school level rugby as well. It’s all very exciting.”
Not only did Leo excel in sports in Aitutaki, he was a play maker for the Arorangi Bears under 16 league team and Arorangi Cowboys under 16 rugby union team while living in Rarotonga.
Although his golf has been on hold while he’s been on the rugby field, Leo says he is keen to get back into the sport during his time at Kings College.
Smith’s son Teariki is still attending Kings College and will be part of the support network for Leo when he begins school.
The college has provided the major part of the funding, and a group of local sponsors have helped out as well.
Young Leo is grateful for the support of businesses and family on Rarotonga and Aitutaki that made it possible for him to attend Kings College.
Along with Air Rarotonga, Rarotonga businesses Pacific Resort, Maritime Cook Islands and the Cook Islands Yacht Squadron have helped give Leo the financial support to attend the prestigious school.
Leo’s own family in Aitutaki, with the support of Aitutaki businesses, ran a golf Ambrose on the outer island to raise funds for Leo’s education.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone for helping me,” says Leo, who adds that to show his gratitude to everyone that has helped he aims to do his best both on the sports field and in the classroom.
His eyes brighten as he reveals his goal to become the first in his family to attend university after Kings College and likely study in the field of sports.
While the Arorangi sports club will certainly miss their star junior player – there is plenty of support behind young Leo’s next bright step into his future.