Un­der­stand­ing, ef­fort the key


De­spite an 81% pass rate, PJ Olivier Ho­er­skool prin­ci­pal, Jou­bert Retief be­lieves they should have done bet­ter.

A short­age of teach­ers and tough home con­di­tions for some pupils were among the school’s chal­lenges.

“Many par­ents are un­em­ployed. Due to the down­ward trend of the econ­omy and what has been hap­pen­ing with protests in the higher learn­ing sec­tors, they lost hope,” said Jou­bert.

The school’s top matric Chante Oden­daal, who scored seven dis­tinc­tions, said although it had been a tough year aca­dem­i­cally, she’d kept work­ing hard.

“I am the kind of per­son who re­mem­bers some­thing when I un­der­stand it, so I made sure I could vi­su­alise ev­ery­thing,” she said.

Apart from hav­ing an ex­cel­lent mem­ory, Oden­daal said she kept her pos­i­tiv­ity by pray­ing reg­u­larly. Her fam­ily also sup­ports and doesn’t pres­sure her.

“I grew up on a farm and from Grade 1 my grand­fa­ther would wake up every morn­ing to take me to school. I am ex­tremely grate­ful to him,” she said.

Mary Wa­ters High School achieved a 70.83 per­cent pass rate, de­clin­ing by 3.93 per­cent from last year.

Prin­ci­pal Faith Coet­zee said their chal­lenges in­cluded lack of com­mit­ment from the learn­ers, poor school at­ten­dance and not sub­mit­ting their Con­tin­u­ous As­sess­ments (CASS) on time.

“Ex­tra classes were there but we did not al­ways have 100% at­ten­dance,” Coet­zee said.

“But I am happy with the results none­the­less be­cause if you com­pare to the pre­lim­i­nary ex­am­i­na­tions, (pre­lims) they did much bet­ter.”

Coet­zee thanked Rhodes Uni­ver­sity for their sup­port, as well as Gadra Ed­u­ca­tion Man­ager Ash­ley West­away and the teach­ers for their ef­forts.

One of the two top learn­ers of the school, Monique Stock, ob­tained four dis­tinc­tions - for Afrikaans, Math­e­mat­i­cal Lit­er­acy (Math Lit), His­tory and Life Sciences – but it hadn't sunk in yet sunk in yet.

“I re­ally did not ex­pect to get all these dis­tinc­tions, es­pe­cially Math Lit since the ex­ams were dif­fi­cult,” she said.

Apart from want­ing to make her fam­ily proud, the other thing that kept her go­ing was to never want­ing to be forced to work for a min­i­mum wage.

“I have ex­pe­ri­enced how it feels like to not be able to pro­vide ne­ces­si­ties be­cause of earn­ing a min­i­mum wage and I don’t want to go through it. That has been my big­gest mo­ti­va­tion,” she said

Stock has been ac­cepted for a Bach­e­lor of So­cial Sci­ence De­gree at Rhodes Uni­ver­sity.

She en­cour­ages those who didn't make it to not give up.

Nt­sika Se­condary School came out as one of the top five schools in the dis­trict, in­creas­ing its pass rate from 73% in 2015 to 87% in 2016.

Prin­ci­pal Madeleine Schoe­man said she was very pleased with the im­prove­ment in their results and com­mended the teach­ers for mo­ti­vat­ing the learn­ers, and the par­ents for be­ing sup­port­ive.

“I feel very proud in terms of what we have achieved as a school and it re­ally was a team ef­fort," Schoe­man said. "All of us put in the hard work and were ded­i­cated and it re­flected in the end,” she said.

The top three Nt­sika matrics were Nwabisa Ti­mana (Bach­e­lor pass and a dis­tinc­tion in English); Athenkosi Ha­bana (Bach­e­lor pass and a dis­tinc­tion in isiXhosa); and Akhusele Somh­lahlo (Bach­e­lor pass and dis­tinc­tions for isiXhosa and Life Ori­en­ta­tion).

Pho­tos: Si­ne­sipho Go­qwana

PJ Olivier Ho­er­skool matrics with prin­ci­pal Jou­bert Retief upon re­ceiv­ing their state­ment of sym­bols.

Nt­sika Se­condary School’s top three matric 2016 achiev­ers (left to right) Athenkosi Ha­bana, Nwabisa Ti­mana and Akhusele Somh­lahlo.

One of Mary Wa­ters Se­condary's two top matrics, Monique Stock, shows off her state­ment of sym­bols.

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