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Johannesburg - Forty distinctions between just four pupils.
That’s the pupils at the top of the list of distinctions scored by Gauteng matrics: Jessica Rees of Crawford College Sandton; Shreya Somera of Sunward Park High; C Fourie of Hoërskool Wonderboom; and DL le Grange of Hoërskool DR Malan.
Each of them received 10 distinctions, according to the matric exam results issued by the Department of Basic Education.
The department’s lists may not include distinctions in subjects written under the Independent Examinations Board.
The department also listed 39 pupils who achieved nine distinctions each in Gauteng, 183 pupils with eight distinctions each, and another 339 who took seven distinctions each.
It was being at the bottom of the pile at a public speaking competition in primary school that saw Shreya Somera move from “barely making the top 10” to clinging to the number one spot in her school from Grade 8 right through to Grade 12.
“Our school did really well,” Shreya said about the public speaking competition.
“Everyone received a gold medal and I was the only one who got a silver.” Shreya said it was this embarrassing episode in her Grade 7 year that pushed her performance from average to exceptional.
Her matric results didn’t disappoint, with a 94 percent average.
“My studying was very relaxed. I didn’t burn the midnight oil, I went to bed at 8pm, exercised and watched all my favourite TV shows,” she said.
Shreya said the key to success was being consistent throughout the year and not only studying before a test or an exam.
When she got her textbooks before the December holidays for the following school year, Shreya said she’d go through them so that by the time her teachers began with the syllabus, she’d already be familiar with the school work.
Shreya plans to study actuarial science at Wits University or UCT.
Jessica, of Northcliff in Joburg, gave up watching TV and playing with her eight-year-old brother to study for her exams.
She obtained 11 distinctions, with the eleventh in advanced maths written through an Australian education authority.
Jessica wrote advanced maths internationally because it is no longer offered as a subject for the National Senior Certificate.
“I did very well in my preliminary examination, that’s how I knew I was going to be okay in the final matric exams. I did have some butterflies during the exam but I felt I secure,” she said.
Jessica thanked her teachers for their support. “My teachers were always available if you needed guidance. All the teachers were great.”
Studying meant less play time with her brother Gareth, who she loves very much.
“My parents and everyone understood that I had to devote more time to my studies. But my little brother felt I had abandoned him. He complained that I was not playing on the trampoline with him any more. I felt bad, but I had to spend most of my time reading my books,” she said.
Her father Graham Rees said: “We are naturally exceptionally proud of Jess’s amazing achievements.”