By Lesego Masemola

Pretoria pupils have come out shining and are among the top 50 best 2009 matriculants in Gauteng.

A total of 21 pupils from various schools in Pretoria and surrounding areas clinched eight or more distinctions.

One of the top candidates is Christian Brothers College's Lawrence de Jesus, who scored nine distinctions, eight of which were set by the Gauteng Department of Education.

In an interview with the Pretoria News, Lawrence - who at that point was unaware he had scored distinctions in all nine subjects - said he hoped for a full house of distinctions.

"It would be really great if I could get distinctions in all my subjects as I have worked very hard for them. It would also be a blessing and a wonderful gift to my parents, who never got the chance to finish their schooling.

"It would make them proud and I would be delighted if it could happen," he said.

Lawrence said he had a feeling that he had done well and attributed his academic achievements to the support he had received from his parents, friends and teachers.

"I have been an A student since Grade 4 and the fact that I have the opportunity that my parents did not have made me achieve even more. My brothers also did well during their time and I also have to do well.

"The school has been great and also contributed to what I am today. My friends also encouraged me to do even better all the time. I am also a very religious person, and when it all got too much, I just prayed," he said.

Lawrence noted that he had to deal with the pressure of being the head boy, and also played soccer and squash.

Another shining star is Fathima Jogiat, of Sutherland High School, who scored eight distinctions and was yesterday still unaware of her achievement.

She said that if she had attained distinctions in all her subjects, it would justify all her hard work.

"I have only been to one party this year, because I had to choose what I do at what time. I also had to decline invitations to go out with my friends because I was studying.

"I am really worried about my maths paper 3 and I am hoping that I pass it. Otherwise, the exams were fine.

"If I have passed all of them, I am definitely going out to party hard tomorrow night," she said.

Pablo Sumaraj, also from Sutherland, also obtained eight distinctions. He said he did not stick to the studying timetable he had set for himself, but when he sat down to study, he made the most of it.

"If you have a dream you are working towards, then you have to put everything on hold and focus on it and give it your all, no matter what comes your way. You have to put everything into it and do your best. It is also about belief. If I get distinctions in all my subjects, I can realise my dream of becoming a doctor one day," he said.

Important contact numbers for matrics

  • National Department of Education: 012 312 5911

  • Gauteng Provincial Department of Education: 011 355 0000

  • Limpopo Provincial Department of Education: 015 290 7602/9315/7802

  • Lifeline National Counselling Line: 0861 322 322

  • Lifeline Johannesburg - Norwood: 011 728 1347

  • South African Depression and Anxiety Group: 011 262 6396 or 0800 567 567

  • Suicide Helpline: 0800 567 567 or SMS: 31393

  • Mental Health: 011 262 6396.