Top matric pupils Sailin Vadivelu (Star Boys college), Lydia Weber (Westville Girls), Shreya Gopaulsingh (Queensburgh Girls) and Ethan Isaac (Star Boys college) bagged 9 A's each. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)
Top matric pupils Sailin Vadivelu (Star Boys college), Lydia Weber (Westville Girls), Shreya Gopaulsingh (Queensburgh Girls) and Ethan Isaac (Star Boys college) bagged 9 A's each. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

KZN top matric achievers praise teachers

By Karen Singh Time of article published Feb 23, 2021

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KZN matric pupils who each received a whopping nine distinctions in the National Senior Certificate examinations said the support of their teachers and learning how to be independent had helped them through the challenges of Covid-19.

Irfaan Sabat, from Empangeni High School, said the exams were not what he had expected.

“I tried my best. It was stressful but overall it wasn’t bad. It went well as I had prepared for it,” he said.

Irfaan said the long wait for the results was worse than the exams.

“Missing out on normal school events was quite disappointing because I didn’t get to spend time with friends,” he added.

His advice for this year’s matrics was to be very disciplined and take every day as it comes.

“Control what you can and don’t get stressed over what you can’t,” said Irfaan.

Irfaan, who said he wanted to thank his teachers for their dedication, will be studying Computer Engineering at the University of Pretoria.

Lydia Weber, 18, from Westville Girls High School, said her final exams were crazy especially due to the leaked exam papers and Covid-19. She said it was stressful not knowing if there would be a rewrite.

“But other than that, it was very rewarding at the end,” she said, adding that with the lockdown and having to learn online, she had to adapt to a new way of learning.

“For the previous 11 years we've all been sort of trained and conditioned to one environment for learning, and everything was all uprooted and suddenly in a couple of months you have to prepare for your final exam with a completely different way of learning.”

She praised her teachers for going the extra mile every time to make sure that they were fine.

Her advice for this year’s matrics, who may have to do the majority of their learning online, was to try to get some exercise between lessons.

She will be studying music at the University of Pretoria.

Sailin Vadivelu, from Star College Boys’ High School, said 2020 was taxing at first but as he got through the exams, he became accustomed to the pressure and learnt to cope better.

Sailin said his parents and friends had motivated him throughout the year.

“My friends especially because we had a group and we always tested each other,” he said.

He said what was most important to him was to make his parents proud.

“I think doing past papers is very important.”

He said online classes were challenging at first but got easier in the second term.

“I think the lockdown taught me independence the most, to work on your own,” he said.

Sailin hopes to study medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Shreya Gopaulsingh, from Queensburgh Girls' High School, said that what became important during the lockdown was independent studying.

“I think that people sometimes have too much reliance on their teachers, and they don't do some work for themselves. I think through the year we really realised the importance of independent studying and being disciplined enough to sit down and study,” she said.

Her advice for the matric class of 2021 was to be disciplined and to persevere.

“When at home its easy to be tempted to do other things so be disciplined, but its also good to have relaxation time for yourself to do something you look forward to,” she said.

She will be studying mechatronics engineering at the University of Cape Town.

Ethan Isaac, 18, from Star College Boys’ School, said he found the exams more challenging than the previous exams because of Covid-19 and the lockdown.

“But I think that together with our framework and support from our teachers and parents, we got through it.”

He said his family, friends and his belief in God also got him through the year.

“It didn’t feel like I was going through it alone, I had people who were going through it with me,” he said.

Ethan would like to study medicine at Wits.

Irfaan Sabat from Empangeni High School

[email protected]

The Mercury

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