Johannesburg - Through blurry eyes – either from a lack of sleep or tears of joy – a group of matriculants from Parktown High School for Girls took stock of their results and their futures.
Some ran across the road to embrace each other while others stood and chatted nervously.
They were waiting for the gates to open at 8am.
Although most had checked their results in the newspapers, they said they wanted to see their marks at the school before they believed them.
The latest matric pass rate has been hailed as a success with Gauteng being the top province with a 83.9 percent pass rate.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga attributed the higher national pass rate to “systematic interventions” that were introduced in schools for teachers and pupils and at district, provincial and the national offices for department officials.
This morning the class of 2012 appeared to give out a collective sigh of relief after a restless night.
“It feels good, it’s like a relief,” said Zarreen Cassim of Parktown High School for Girls, who notched up five distinctions in mathematics, accounting, life sciences, English and life orientation.
Mihlali Vezi hopes to study medicine at UCT.
“I’m very relieved, I couldn’t sleep at all,” said Mihlali, who thinks she had about three hours of shut-eye.
She said she was very happy with her marks.
“I got four distinctions,” said an excited Kiah Johnson. She achieved this in life orientation, biology, English and art, with marks in the 90s for the latter two.
Her mother, Annette Wozniak, said she felt great for her daughter.
“She worked hard, she did well, so that’s great,” said Wozniak.
Johnson said that while she was happy overall, she would be applying for re-marks in some subjects because she very nearly had a higher grade.
Some mothers and their daughters wiped away tears of joy while the driver of a car carrying two excited matriculants hooted as it drove away.
Some students jumped while posing for pictures and the hugs kept coming throughout the morning.
In Soweto, 18-year-old Sizwe Mpofu celebrated his happiest moment since suffering a mental breakdown a few months ago.
He described it as an exhausting challenge that had those who cared about him gathered in prayer for his last year of school.
Today he shed tears of joy as he celebrated with his Bhukulani Secondary School peers after scoring distinctions for maths, isiZulu and physical science.
He is ready to go to Cape Town where he will study computer and electrical engineering at UCT.
“I knew I could do well. I had the potential to do so. After the effort that my teachers and parents made to help me heal, I knew I couldn’t disappoint them,” said Sizwe.
The school, situated in Zondi, made history again this year after scoring an 89 percent pass rate and bagging 110 distinctions.
Mpho Mabapa from Jabulani scored distinctions for accounting, business studies, economics, life orientation, English and isiZulu.
As dozens of pupils began flocking into the school grounds this morning, the girl made her way to a breakfast hosted by the Gauteng Department of Education, with principal Mduduzi Mathe.
Receiving an SMS from the principal on New Year’s Day, like other top achievers, Mandy Mlangeni was able to make her father, Peter, and the rest of her family proud.
She is the first one in her family to be going to university.