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Joe Hoeflich finds a new life

Wednesday 29 December 2010 | Published in Regional

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Cook Islands Sports Academy student Joe Hoeflich has gone from the wrong side of the law to top of the class.

The 19-year-old was named 2010 CISA student of the year for his outstanding achievements both on the field of play and in his personal life during the year long sports course for young men.

Along with his student of the year certificate – Hoeflich also received a certificate for academic excellence, a national certificate in sport plus a rugby ready level 1 coaching certificate and a Red Cross First Aid certificate.

But a year ago, Hoeflich, who left school when he was only 14, was hanging out with the wrong crowd, binge drinking and getting in trouble with the police.

Academy founder and tutor Kevin Iro says that he was advised not to take on the young man due to his reputation but like all his students, Iro gave Hoeflich the benefit of the doubt and the chance to turn his life around.

“He just flew through his work,” says Iro.

“In fact half way through the year he was three units ahead of the other guys.” Iro says that Hoeflich went from the kid from the wrong side of the law to the fittest and strongest in the class.

“I was a bad boy back then,” says Hoeflich.

Hoeflich then made the all important decision to turn his life around starting with joining the CISA sports programme.

“I’d always been interested in sports and I wanted to get fit,” adds Hoeflich.

Hoeflich says that the biggest lesson he has learned through the CISA programme is setting goals and working hard to achieve them.

As he worked towards getting his life back on track – Hoeflich also returned to church.

Towards the end of 2010 Hoeflich joined his fellow class mates in the boxing ring for the academy’s fundraising fight night where he was one of the standout boxers.

With his life back on track – Hoeflich plans to join the army and pursue a boxing career.

His advice to other young men and women living a life of crime is to stop, make positive goals and work towards making those goals a reality.

“I’d like to thank the Lord for giving me the strength, wisdom and energy to achieve this,” says Hoeflich.

“I want to thank my family and Avarua AOG church for their support and very special thank you to Kevin (Iro) and Lloyd Matapo for guiding me through.”

Hoeflich would also like to show appreciation and thank the national human resource department and NZAID. The 2011 CISA roll is already at capacity with classes for the new students to start on February 24 both on Rarotonga and in Aitutaki.