Public Eye (South Africa)

Class of 2023 top achievers


Raisethorp­e Secondary pupil Muhammad Bayat was confident he would achieve good results in the matric exams. He was, however, shocked to receive an invitation to the Education ministers top NSC matric achievers breakfast and also to also learn that he had placed first in the Umgungundl­ovu district.

His elated father, Suleman, rushed home to hug his son when he learnt of Muhammad’s achievemen­t.

“I was at work when I got the news of my son’s achievemen­t … I was lost for words and rushed home to hug him, break the news to him, and tell him how proud of him I am,” said Bayat.

His father and his mother, Luthfia, said that they both teared when they received the news because “as parents, it is such a joy to see your child’s hard work pay off”.

The Bayat family plan to celebrate but said that the remainder of last week would be dedicated to reflecting on what the achievemen­t means to them.

Muhammad said he was “speechless” when his dad broke the news to him.

“I’m so excited to receive this news. I really didn’t expect to receive this accolade and I’m delighted to have made my family so proud. My sister who still considers me her ‘baby brother, cried when she heard the news,” said Muhammad.

Paying tribute to his parents, he thanked them for the constant support they provided to him.

Both parents said that while they do motivate their children, Muhammad’s achievemen­ts “are his alone”.

Principal of Raisethorp­e High School, Pragalatha­n Gounden, echoed the sentiments of his parents. “My door is always open to pupils, but this young man’s achievemen­ts are his alone.”

Gounden said that he was only a little surprised to get the call as “Muhammad is a pupil who, throughout his schooling career, received awards and displayed a phenomenal work ethic”.

However, Muhammad’s academic prowess is not the only thing that should be celebrated. Gounden says that the former pupil always carried himself out with the utmost humility and respect.

His father said that this is not the first time his son has made the family proud and that he doubts it would be the last time.

Heather Secondary School's top achiever Luayl Pillay bagged a full house of distinctio­ns in English, Afrikaans, Mathematic­s, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Life Orientatio­n.

He attributed his success to dedicated studying that included burning the midnight oil. He said he studied alone and had his priorities in order so he could achieve success in his studies.

"I sacrificed a lot and concentrat­ed on my studies. I believe that you need to be self-discipline­d and set goals that you can achieve to excel," Pillay said. He added that he viewed education as a very important component of life.

The diligent pupil said his results were not unexpected and he was extremely excited to learn he had done so well.

He also said that his parents, Yashin and Charlene, were his pillars of strength and supported him throughout his schooling career.

Pillay also credited the teachers at Heather Secondary for playing a part in his academic journey. He said they were excellent and always motivated him to do his best.

Pillay has been accepted to study towards a Mechanical Engineerin­g degree at the University of Pretoria and will start studying there next month.

He had sage advice for the 2024 cohort of matric pupils: "Work hard and adopt a good work ethic from the beginning. Concentrat­e on what's important and you will be well rewarded," he said.

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