There was an immediate standing ovation in the Kearns High auditorium when Palalaua Tafili was announced as the 2019 recipient of the Absolutely Incredible Award.
This annual recognition shines a spotlight on students who have overcome significant challenges to achieve academic success. The announcement came as a complete surprise to Laua, who was chosen among more than 400 nominees sent in by parents, employees and students.
Laua grew up in poverty in Samoa. When he was 2 years old his younger brother passed away. When he was 4 years old, he was in the room when his father unexpectedly collapsed and died. He moved from house to house before being adopted and brought to Utah when he was 7 years old.
Upon arrival, he had the uphill climb of improving his health, learning English, and dealing with a perforated eardrum, which has led to near hearing loss in his left ear. Despite the enormous challenges, however, Laua quickly adapted to his new surroundings to excel school, play sports, learn the drums, and reach out to his peers to make friends. He’s dedicated to becoming an engineer and is taking rigorous courses to help him achieve that goal.
“Laua could be very sad, bitter or mad about what he has overcome in his short 15 years. However, he is just the opposite. He is amazing, friendly, and a hard worker.”
Our thanks to all who submitted nominations for this year’s Absolutely Incredible Kid Award. We truly have the best students here in Granite!
Mark Pierce says
Laua, I never knew the whole story of you childhood. I could see the competitive, determine and out going youngster that you were But…… the Kindness and giving you share with your friends, family and people you don’t really know is what makes you so special. Coach Pierce
Mr. Tuttle says
Laua is not only a model student, but also an exemplary young man. One day in class I asked him if he had a cell phone. He replied that he did, but that he doesn’t bring it to school because it is a distraction. From all that I’ve seen, he certainly deserves this award. Laua, you are awesome!