One of the classrooms that was further damaged by a recent storm.

On the backroads of KwaZulu-Natal, just off the R600, 20km from the farming town of Winterton, there is a gem: a school that has produced a 100 percent matriculation five years in a row.

Meadowsweet Combined School is dilapidated, but shone brightly among the 116 schools in the province which achieved perfection with the class of 2013. The school outperformed KZN’s 6 125 other schools, many of them with resources and facilities that make Meadowsweet pathetic by comparison.

It has 500 pupils and the teacher-pupil ratio, with between 60 and 88 to a class, makes its results astonishing.

Meadowsweet is defying the odds, triumphing over ramshackle neglect. It is making fools of school peers who blame poor outcomes on facility inadequacies. Something really good is happening there, a chemistry that should be analysed, bottled and spread to the rest of the province and the country.

Part of the answer is Anne Immelman, a retired maths teacher who volunteers at the school. She wrote to the Daily News to draw attention to this roughest of diamonds, and her dutiful intervention has caught the attention of education bosses in Pietermaritzburg.

Meadowsweet, it turns out, has for years been on the department’s waiting list. Immelman’s cry for help has expedited it, with building of 17 new classrooms, two administrative blocks, four multipurpose rooms, fencing, and ablution facilities to replace the pit latrines, to start in May.

This school is the most deserving of recipients, with staff and pupils alike brushing aside bleak conditions, refusing ample excuses available to them for falling short of excellence.

Praise to Meadowsweet for its outstanding achievements. And thanks to Anne Immelman for her citizen activism, drawing attention to this gem in the dust, and catching the eye of the right officials.