Adam Pousson (right)
Durban - The school's excellent matric results aside, Kloof-based Thomas More College is celebrating two boys, Adam Pousson and Trent Cairns, who passed their Independent Examinations Board matric exams despite being diagnosed with cerebral palsy at an early age.

Headmaster Dave Wiggett said he was “absolutely ecstatic” that they had achieved bachelor degree passes.

Wiggett said both Adam and Trent "brought good things” to the school and deserved being celebrated.

Adam has been accepted to do a BCom at Varsity College in Westville, while Trent is going to take a gap year called Year of Your Life at Hatfield Church in Pretoria.

Adam’s parents, Kerry and Douglas, said their son had always shown grit and determination. Born prematurely, Adam was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was a two-year-old. He started his formal education at Open Air School for children with special educational needs.

He has had 11 operations on his legs, his last being the year before he started high school.

His parents said placing him in a mainstream school was a daunting prospect, but one they felt would benefit and enrich him in the long term.

Despite Adam's physical challenges, Thomas More College, under the curatorship of Allan Chandler and Shane Cuthbertson (headmaster and executive principal at the time), accepted Adam into Grade 8.

“The move was indeed a challenge, for Adam, his peers and his teachers. A challenge that was embraced by all. He has inspired and enriched the lives of those around him with his tenacity and desire to achieve,” said his mother.

She said Adam, who is currently in New Zealand, embraced the school's ethos and participated in all aspects of the school.

“Adam has been included in sports days and galas, and has taken part in the Thomas More College long walk every year. And in 2018 he completed in excess of 35km on his hand cycle,” Kerry said.

Trent Cairns (left)

Trent's parents, Neil and Shenley Cairns, said their son's cerebral palsy had profoundly affected his life in terms of speech and movement.

But they wanted Trent to be part of the mainstream school environment so that he could enter adult life experienced about the “real world”.

Trent started his Thomas More journey in 2014 when he was accepted into the high school.

“Trent loved his new school from the start and there were many teachers and students who reached out to him. The school's remedial teacher took Trent and a few others under her wing in Grade 8 and Grade 9, and held a homework club every afternoon,” said Trent's mother.

She said they were grateful to the school for accepting him and others with difficulties and that Trent had been proud to be at the school.

“Every morning when being dropped off, Trent would say ‘ah, home from home’.

"As parents, we have learnt lessons too. When he won three big awards in his matric year, the headmaster’s award, the (shared) staff award and the Christian leadership award, we realised that it's not always the end goal that counts; it's very much the journey we are on,” Shenley added.

* Visit IOL's Matrics page for all the latest National Senior Certificate results and news.

The Mercury