Johannesburg - Nikisha Baijan from Sunward Park High School in Boksburg was feeling just fine on Tuesday – until about lunchtime.
That’s when the nerves kicked in ahead of today’s matric results release.
“Last year I would have said ‘as many as I can get’,” she said when asked how many distinctions she was hoping for. “Now I think six or more – that will be fine.”
She shouldn’t have worried. Nikisha was one of five Gauteng matriculants to pull in 10 distinctions in the National Senior Certificate exams.
Stephen Slabbert from Crawford College in Pretoria, Willem Landman from Centurion’s Hoërskool Zwartkop, Simoné Richter from Hoërskool Driehoek in Vanderbijlpark and Simoné Labuschagne from Hoërskool Hugenote also each achieved 10 distinctions.
Nikisha said her school’s digital policy helped her stay organised during her exam preparations. In March, the Sunward Park school ditched textbooks for tablets.
“It made it easier,” said Nikisha. “My past papers, textbooks and notes were all in one place.”
The teen said she prepped throughout the year for her exams, putting extra activities aside to go through her work every day after school.
She’ll be studying accounting or actuarial sciences at Wits this year.
But while Nikisha put her head down, Stephen from Crawford College “did what he has been doing all along”, his mother Karen said on Tuesday.
“He has always been extremely busy, out of the house early and back home late,” she said.
Stephen was doing acting, public speaking, and playing chess and hockey.
He wasn’t in town to chat about how he felt, though Karen said she was excited and anxious on his behalf.
Stephen is in the UK, where he’s training to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“It’s quite a common thing for the young men in our church to serve and share the Gospel,” said Karen.
Stephen will spend two years in the field after completing his training.
Centurion teen Willem is also out of town – he’s enjoying a skiing holiday in Italy with some of his matric friends from Hoërskool Zwartkop.
But his mother, Dr Marié Landman, said he was a balanced student, spending a lot of time on sport and cultural activities as well as academic work.
He’s off to study medicine at the University of Pretoria this year – something of a family trade. Both his parents are GPs, with their practice attached to their home.
“He literally grew up in a medical practice,” Marié said.