Tao Nel is only in grade 8, but he is looking forward to five years at King Edward V11 School and intends making the most of it.
“I know I would not be here without the help I have been given, so I want to make the best of it and be someone who is remembered once I’m gone,” he said.
Those memories of boys who have been through the school are one of the things that has struck him since he arrived. “There are so many heroes of the past that attended the school and they are talked about all the time. That’s what I want to be one day.”
Rugby is the area that he is expected to excel at. He played for the Golden Lions at the under-13 Craven Week and it was there that he was spotted. His obvious talent, along with the financial need of his family – his mother is a single parent – are what led to him being asked to apply for the school, but he intends doing far more than playing rugby.
“I have joined the music and photographic societies and this term, while I am injured and cannot play sport, I am going to be in the first aid squad,” he said.
Rugby is, however, the most important thing for him, he admits, and he is hoping to be ready for pre-season training and the first matches in March. He played lock at primary school but the coaches at the school have him ear-marked as a flank and he is raring to go.
Hostel life is a new experience for him and he is loving it. “I enjoy the structure and the rules,” he said, “they help me to focus. You are never away from the history and the tradition that the school is all about.”
Expect Tao Nel to become part of that history and tradition in the next five years.