Aspiring Urban Planner with ambitions to assist Pasifika Communities

Having graduated from Dilworth with two scholarships under his belt, Dilworth Old Boy and Deputy Head Prefect from the Class of 2020, Jerome Tupuola is now studying a Bachelor of Urban Planning at the University of Auckland.

Jerome can be described as an all-rounder. He was a part of the Dilworth 1st XV team, did well academically and was well-respected by his peers and teachers, which eventually led to him being selected as the Deputy Head Prefect.

Head of Art and Technology Miss Kiyun Lee, who was Jerome’s Digital and Visual Communication Teacher (DVC) describes Jerome as a conscientious and polite student who was passionate about design.

“One of his key strengths is to empathise with the design context and relate to his target audience. He has a great set of skills (communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity) that will make him a great urban planner”.

Jerome took DVC as a subject since he was in Year 10 and he quickly realised how passionate he was about the subject.

“Throughout the years, I found that I wasn’t just interested in buildings and the design aspects of them, but I also developed an interest in the wider community and how buildings affect the people and environment around them. What inspired me to pursue this degree, was my new-found love and appreciation of how communities and buildings are a lot more connected than people think”.

A key focus for Jerome and his long-term goal, is to go back to his homeland of Samoa and help develop communities and environments over there.

“Being Samoan, I am aware that our people have it pretty tough back home. I would love to use what I’ve learned throughout my study and apply that knowledge to help better the environment in Samoa. It will allow me to give back to the people who have made me who I am today. It will also give me the opportunity to contribute to the country that my parents came from, so that they could provide me with a better future.”

For now, Jerome is in his first year of a Bachelor of Urban Planning and has scholarship support from the Staples Education Foundation and Keystone Trust. This will provide him with the financial assistance, mentoring, wellbeing support and networking opportunities he needs to really set him up for success. What has primarily been the key contributor to Jerome’s success thus far however, is his strong work ethic.

“Something I have learnt from my time at Dilworth is that hard work beats talent. Talent is not the only thing that defines whether you are good at something or not, as hard work will always pay off. Dilworth taught me to work hard to reach my goals and put effort into training yourself in areas you’d like to improve in.”

Despite all the learnings that Jerome has taken with him from his time at Dilworth, his number one highlight is the relationships he has built over the years.

“It’s unusual to see your classmates, teammates and teachers five times a week, from morning to evening. At Dilworth, we have a home together and spending your time at this school with your fellow classmates builds the close bonds we share. I have had the chance to see my classmates grow and to be a part of that growth is inspiring and I’m truly grateful. They have helped me better myself as a person.”

April 12, 2021