Chris May left high school having achieved very little - he got School Cert English, but had two goes to get it.
Today Chris, 34, is a teacher at St Columba's School in Frankton and has just published a book titled Running with a Hurricane - Educating Boys for Manhood.
Getting from near high school dropout to teacher and author has been a major journey.
But lack of academic prowess - "I thought I was just dumb, a failure" - didn't stop Chris. He went to university, earned a degree in business management, and managed the Hamilton Hallensteins store before going back into study to earn a post-grad Diploma in Education and taking up teaching as a career.
In 2010 he began building the Nga Tama Toa programme which drew its title from the ethos of the Maori Battalion.
"By last year I had a lot of resources so I started piecing it together to create Running with a Hurricane - the crazy messy world that a boy's world can be.
"For many boys their context is their school. They need to learn things like how to contribute to a household, the community and society. "We need more people doing more good things for the world.
"The book is targeted at Year 8 boys and draws from my experience. It's about teaching boys the difference between being 'The Man' and being 'A Man'. Many will know how to be The Man, but it is the simple things like shaking hands which create the unspoken bonds between men," Chris said.
Getting the message out wasn't easy. After five rejection letters from publishers, Chris self-published and put his work out through Amazon, where it is available as a paperback or as an e-book.
As part of Hamilton Book Month Chris May will present Running with a Hurricane - Educating Boys for Manhood at the Lido Cinema, Centreplace, 12 noon, Saturday August 5. His book can be obtained through Amazon or by contacting Chris, firstname.lastname@example.org.