Charles Mani, who joined Long Bay College from the Solomon Islands on a scholarship two years ago, has completed his studies and has returned home. During his time at the college, Charles became a well known and liked personality around campus. He appreciated the many learning opportunities his New Zealand experience provided and he offered his heartfelt thanks to his host family and to the teachers of Long Bay College who supported him to achieve his NCEA qualifications.
“I have really enjoyed my time here as part of the [1st XI Boys Football] team and at the school,” says Charles.
“Here, I have had good teachers. They are well educated; they help all of the students with their learning. And they also care for the students. In my home country, students often struggle by themselves,” he said.
Charles will be greatly missed by his teammates. He has been one of the main attackers and scored 32 goals in 21 games for Long Bay over past two seasons. Aside from his fantastic football skills, Charles will also be remembered for his desire for sleep during the day, his singing and partying at night and infamous love of Doritos.
Liam Pardington, Year 13 student and captain of the Long Bay College 1st XI Football team says, “Having Charles on our team was amazing; the energy, speed and spirit he brought helped us unite. He picked us up in our low moments and made our successful moments even better.”
“There has been a lot of learning from Charles,” says the team’s manager, coach and Long Bay College’s Director of Sport, Mr Paul Field. ” What a player! We have been very lucky to have him for the last couple of years.”
Charles Mani pictured with Director of Sport, Mr Paul Field
The College’s Principal, Mr CJ Healey says, “Having Charles as a part of our school community has been a special experience for us all. We have learned so much from him in terms of cultural diversity; his customs, mannerisms, culture and outlook on life have been invaluable to many and certainly for me as his Principal.” He adds, “For Charles, we hope he has learned more than just academics and has taken with him learnings about our values and identity that he will aid him throughout life.”
It is very likely that Charles’ future will include football. In 2019, he had the amazing opportunity of captaining his Solomon Islands Boys U17 Football team when they competed in their first World Cup in Brazil.
We wish Charles every success and look forward to seeing him again.