130103. Cape Town. Rustenburg High School for Girls top achiever, Alexandra Mould (19) with her hands on her head after her name was announced as top student. Next to her with the blond hair is her sister Emma Mould (20) and in the background mother Renee Mould. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

Western Cape - There were tears of joy and sobs of heartache on Thursday as matriculants picked up their results.

At Rustenburg Girls’ High School, traditionally one of the city’s top performing schools, the mood was upbeat. It was the number one school in the city last year and this year it boasted a 100 percent pass rate.

But across town in Manenberg, principal Dawood Tregonning of Silverstream High School was grappling with the news that they had one of the lowest pass rates in the Western Cape at 34.2 percent.

Rustenburg principal Laura Bekker said the school was unlikely to retain its position as the top performing school this year. She attributed this to the fact that fewer matrics wrote exams this year than last.

The school’s top performer Alexandra Mould, received eight distinctions with an average mark of 93 percent.

Also among the top performers was Kayla-Paige Raper, 18. Raper, who also received eight distinctions, said she had never achieved results anywhere near as good as the ones she received on Thursday. She will go on to study mechanical engineering.

There were celebrations all round at Hermanus High School after it scored a 100 percent pass rate.

The school’s top achiever, Nita Wiegman, 18, was the only Western Cape matriculant to be honoured with an award from the Department of Basic Education.

She was the second best achiever in the category for quintile 5 schools.

Her results included 100 percent in maths, 98 percent in physical science and 99 percent in accounting.

Prinicipal Werner Ladewig said 19 of the school’s candidates had passed with distinction while 31 passed with B symbols. He said the school believed in extending pupils’ knowledge by offering additional subjects like dance and information technology.

Rondebosch Boys’ High School also celebrated a 100 percent pass rate.

A disappointed Tregonning told the Cape Argus they “meticulously” followed the syllabus and provided extra weekend classes for their Grade 12 pupils: “We anticipated better and were aiming for at least an 80 percent pass rate.”

Bronagh Casey, spokeswoman for Education MEC Donald Grant, said the school faced many challenges during the exam period, such as gangsterism in the area, which was “disruptive”.

“We will continue to support this school in 2013 to ensure that they improve their results,” she said.

Other poor-performing schools included Naphakade Secondary School in Malmesbury, with a 35.8 percent pass rate, and Simon Estes Music High School in Ottery, with a 36.6 percent pass rate.

Casey said the top performing school still needed to be identified according to the department’s set criteria and would be announced on January 9. The department will also announce the top individual performers and a range of merit awards in different categories to schools around the province.

Cape Argus