Zille salutes Western Cape’s matric top achievers
PREMIER Helen Zille paid tribute to academic excellence at her official residence, Leeuwenhof, on Thursday, at an event to honour the province’s top performing matriculants and schools.
Education MEC Debbie Schäfer placed particular emphasis on schools that had overcome great adversity and beaten the odds to achieve some of the province’s best results in the 2017 Senior Certificate exams.
Aloe Secondary School in Mitchells Plain was named the most improved school over a three-year period, achieving an aggregate improvement in their pass rate of 56.7% and an 87% pass rate for 2017.
“I must commend the principals and teachers who courageously face challenges every day and strive to create a stable teaching and learning environment for our learners when there is violence and fear just outside the school gate,” Schäfer said.
Principal Envil Wertheim said the staff and pupils had made enormous sacrifices in order to succeed over the past three years.
“We teach under tough conditions and it’s not only our school that is doing well but almost every school in Mitchells Plain. I said to my staff that we have to make the school a haven for our pupils and we had to make schooling an invigorating and exciting experience,” said Wertheim.
He added that the greatest challenges faced by schools in the area included crime and a lack of funding.
Schäfer also praised Claremont High School for their impressive results, which saw the school finish joint eighth in the province with Wynberg Boys’ High School.
“Claremont was born out of a partnership with Westerford High School. The aim was to try and replicate the success of Westerford, focusing specifically on maths and science for disadvantaged learners.
“It has been a real collaborative effort, with teachers even being shared between the two schools. This year they attained a position in one of our top spots with a 100% pass rate and an 87.8% bachelor’s pass rate,” she said.
Claremont High was founded in 2011 when nearby Westerford High School was given the task of overseeing the development of the school by the Western Cape Education Department.
The school has continued to grow from strength to strength, said principal Murray Gibbon.
“We began a partnership with Westerford with the idea that they sort of nurture us. They gave us a lot of support in terms of working together, sharing exams and staff and planning together and now we’re pretty much on our own feet.
“The next goal is to get a 100% bachelor’s pass rate.
The vision is for every one of our pupils to go to tertiary, which make many of them the first in their families,” said Gibbon.
Meanwhile, the province’s top three students – Janke van Dyk, Matthys Louis Carstens and Erin Michael Solomon – said they were in awe of the achievements of pupils who did not have the same resources.
“I think it’s amazing to achieve against all those odds that were stacked against them it’s actually very inspiring,” said Van Dyk.
The annual matric awards were held at Premier Helen Zille’s official residence, Leeuwenhof, this week.