Despite a bout of food poisoning during exams, fracturing his writing hand while playing cricket and losing his grandmother, Hridhay Somera, still managed to bag 10 As
Durban - Despite suffering a bout of food poisoning in the middle of his exams, fracturing his writing hand while playing cricket and losing his grandmother earlier in the year, Hridhay Somera, 17, still managed to bag 10 As in the 2019 National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams.

The Kingsway High School pupil said he wrote his last five papers with a fractured hand.

“There was a lot of pain and a lot of hard work.

“I lost my grandmother at the start of the year during my first-term exams, so that was a bit tough, but life goes on. I had to keep working.”

Hridhay secured As in English, Afrikaans, mathematics, life orientation, accounting, history, information technology, life sciences and physical sciences. He also earned an A in advanced programme mathematics.

He said he had a habit of leaving things to the last minute, which left him in a predicament. He had a lot to study in very little time. When he fell sick and got injured, paying attention in class got him to the finish line. Hridhay said he had also played chess and first-team cricket during the year.

Like his name, which means “heart” in Hindi, Hridhay wants to follow the path of cardiac surgery, or plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Stefan Friedrich, 17, from Eden College Durban, achieved As in English, Afrikaans, German, mathematics, life orientation, accounting, history, information technology and physical sciences. The subject he had wanted to excel in was accounting.

“I’m good with numbers but accounting was my subject of struggle. I find it hard to grasp all the concepts,” Stefan said. After learning that he had done exceptionally well, Stefan said he was ecstatic. “I’m so happy and so overjoyed that all my hard work paid off,” he said.

Stefan said he had reduced the sport he played during his matric year and achieved academic honours and became a prefect.

He said he wanted to become a mechatronic engineer because he enjoyed working with mechanical systems, computers and robots.

Meanwhile, three best friends at Westville Boys’ High signed off their matric year with seven distinctions each. Nivan Poken, 18, from Reservoir Hills, got distinctions in English, mathematics, life orientation, geography, information technology, life sciences and physical Sciences.

Poken said he had expected good results because he had worked hard and never lost focus on his studies. “I come from a family that always emphasises education and my studies have always been my top priority. It was never a matter of studying hard just before the exams. It has been my whole life - I built up from day one and all I did was to check the past exam papers to test myself,” said Poken.

His passion lies in learning how the universe works and he will be studying computer science and astrophysics at the University of Cape Town (UCT) this year.

Kenwyn Govender, 18, from Westville got distinctions in English, Afrikaans, mathematics, life orientation, life sciences, physical sciences and visual arts. Govender wants to study medicine at UCT, but has not received a response to his application yet.

Another top achiever was 18-year-old Gideon Chetty, with distinctions in English, Afrikaans, mathematics, life orientation, accounting, geography and physical sciences. Chetty said he was raised to work hard to achieve his dreams. He said all his life he dreamed of being a businessman and running his own company. Chetty has been accepted to study commerce at the Stellenbosch University.

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