By LARRY ANDREW
AFTER his mother died when he was young, and his father returned to his home country abroad, Tony Clinton had to be brought up by his mother’s relatives in Kandrian, West New Britain.
Living without his biological parents was tough for the young man but he made sure that, with the help and guidance of his relatives and mentors, he must stand up for himself, starting with his education.
Early this month, Tony, 23, graduated with a diploma in nursing and also won the Best Clinical Nurse award at the University of Technology School of Nursing in Lae.
His father from Malaysia had left him in the care of the mother’s relatives and returned home. He never returned.
School fees through Grade 10, 11 and 12 at St Mary’s Vuvu Secondary School was the biggest problem as his adopted mother Celine Tavua had no formal employment to support the family.
“I was struggling with school fees but I managed to complete Grade 10 and on to Grade 11 and 12 which I completed in 2016.”
His fees arrears had accumulated but the school principal Mister Toruba pitied him and allowed him to receive his certificate.
“ Now completing my education, I would like to acknowledge and say thank you to all those who had supported me financially and played a big part in my life to see me complete my education.”
“I got my certificate despite not paying the full school fees. Toruba told me that the only problem is to find money to pay tuition fees at the Lae School of Nursing.”
Clinton lost hope because he did not have any money. But one day his Grade 12 teacher in English Delma Johnson heard about his story and took him in as a son and with her policeman husband Johnson Mide, provided school fees during his first year in 2017 at the School of Nursing.
But in 2018, he could not continue due to the school fee problem again so had to stay home.
In 2019, he did the second year and finally completed his third year of schooling and graduated with the diploma.
“During my first year, I was about to be removed from class but a Sister Nichola Polis showed concern and asked the school to let me continue.”
He finally got his diploma and an extra award.
“I’m happy that I graduated and got my diploma paper and I’m here to support people who need basic services back in the villages and around the country too.”
He looks back now with gratitude to all those who had helped him.
“Now completing my education, I would like to acknowledge and say thank you to all those who had supported me financially and played a big part in my life to see me complete my education.
“I’ve gone through so many challenges but want to say a very big thank you to my adopted mother Tavua who had been very supportive despite struggling to meet ends meet and giving all her best to see me though.”
He also thanked Steven Polis and family, Sister Mozenga and her family “and all those I cannot mention as the list will go on who had been there for me to see that I complete my education”.
Trying and tough, but Tony persevered.