by Margaret Setefano – WSHS Change Maker
HE started from the bottom and became a big shot.
Alex Leapai, a former Woodridge student, is well respected throughout the community of Logan City. He started as a student at Woodridge State High School and like any other, had to overcome the battles of living in a low socio-economic area to achieve success.
Although he had trouble with alcohol, drugs and spent time in jail after leaving school, he turned his life around.
Leapai became a successful boxer, joined church choirs, raised a family of six children, drove a delivery van to pay the bills, fought in pubs, clubs, RSLs and eventually made a name for himself on the world stage. He has come a long way, and on April 26, 2014, became the first Australian to have the chance to fight for the undisputed heavyweight belt against the Ukrainian world champion in Germany.
He worked hard to get where he is today, with the support of his wife and kids, who have been there every step of the way.
He is determined to be an example to the new generation and to help them avoid some of the things he did in his past. Because of his story, he is seen as more than just someone who is able to achieve his goals. He is a hero and an inspiration. He gives the students of Logan City ‘hope’.
Hope that allows them to believe you don’t have to have a perfect background to become successful and achieve your dreams.
Hope that allows the students to focus on school, knowing that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. But also to never give up on yourself and keep fighting whatever battles you are facing.
“I wish back then that I did focus on school but I learnt that the hard way. I have the chance now to share my story with many kids and hopefully they can knuckle down and focus and not leave it too late like I did,” Leapai said.
On March 7 2014, Leapai came back to his roots and talked to Woodridge State High students.
He inspired them to stay in school and not let anyone stop them from doing what they wanted to do in life.