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Two KZN learners accepted into Yale Young Scholars Programmes

Sisanda Bhengu and Mikhyla Mokoetla have been accepted, from thousands of applications around the world, into two Yale Young Scholars Programmes. Picture: Supplied

Sisanda Bhengu and Mikhyla Mokoetla have been accepted, from thousands of applications around the world, into two Yale Young Scholars Programmes. Picture: Supplied

Published May 17, 2022

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Two Grade 11 learners from St Anne’s have been accepted, from thousands of applications around the world, into two Yale Young Scholars Programmes.

Sisanda Bhengu will be taking part in the Yale Young African Scholars (YYAS) academic enrichment programme designed for outstanding high school students worldwide who want to make a meaningful impact as young leaders. The YYAS received thousands of applications from 36 countries across Africa.

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While fellow student Mikhyla Mokoetla has been accepted for the Yale Young Global Scholar programme, also an academic enrichment programme for outstanding high school students worldwide.

Each summer, students from more than 150 countries participate in one interdisciplinary, two-week session online or at Yale's historic campus for the course.

Sisanda’s seven-day online version of the YYAS programme takes place on various digital platforms. A typical YYAS participant has an excellent academic records, demonstrated leadership potential, strong written and verbal communication skills, a desire and ability to work cooperatively with peers, and has demonstrated maturity and interest in engaging in discussions about intellectual, moral, and political issues in Africa, among other requirements.

Only 300 to 400 students are accepted per admission, and top history student Sisanda is thrilled to be one of the few.

“My goals after matric are to do an undergraduate degree in the States, to study either human rights law or chemical engineering.”

She was stunned when she got accepted.

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“The preparation was quite arduous. We had to write three essays … I’m a huge Marvel Comics fan, and because I’m also fascinated by engineering, one of the topics I chose to write about was Iron Man,” she said.

This, among other motivations, ensured her immediate acceptance into the collaborative programme, running from 20-26 July.

“The appeal, for me is that the alumni from this programme have gone on to do incredible work…. and that applicants are paired with a mentor, which is an ongoing, sustainable relationship,” she added.

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Fellow grade 11 learner Mikhyla, a keen saxophonist, tennis player and hip-hop dancer, is delighted to have been accepted into the Young Global Student programme, which runs from 5-17 July, “fortunately during the school holidays”.

“I plan to apply to UCT or Wits for my postgrad studies, and my ambition is to study neurosurgery.”

Mikhyla, who takes economics as one of her elective subjects, said the Yale programme attracted her because it will focus on politics and law, as well as global issues, advances in technology and economics.

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She said her past four years at St Anne’s had been invaluable.

“Here, you get to learn a lot about who you are and what you want from life. I believe the Yale experience will help us gain so much, and I am hugely grateful to have been accepted. I am really looking forward to it – not nervous at all, just excited. We both are.”

Neither has any idea of what to expect once the programmes start but both are unanimous that their futures will be immeasurably enhanced by their selection by Yale.

“It’s a massive honour to have been accepted from the thousands of applications they receive, and yes, St Anne’s is very proud of us,” she said.

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