Jacques de Chermond from Southdowns College celetrates with his sister, Melissa de Chermond. Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)
ONE is forced to asked: is there anything that Jacques de Chermont cannot do? This comes after an impressive academic career at Southdowns College that ranked him among the best matrics in the country.

The lanky, ever-smiling teen scored eight As in the IEB exams with an overall average of 95% and a place on the list of Outstanding achievers.

But not only is he “brainy”, he was the head boy, played first team rugby and cricket, had honours for academics and cricket, colours for athletics and rugby, and full colours for leadership and Redenaars (orators) honours. Impressive, right?

But the 18-year-old, who will be studying Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria, said it has nothing to do with his IQ and everything to do with family support, preparation and dedication. “I’m actually not as clever as everyone makes me out to be,” he chuckled.

“One thing I’m sure of, is that I’m a hard worker who always strives to finish what I started,” he said.

De Chermont had a tough act to follow, after his older sister Melissa scored straight As and was the head girl at Southdowns College five years ago.

He called her the catalyst for his achievements: “My sis has always inspired me to do better with academics. I saw how she worked relentlessly to achieve her goals at school, and I just followed suit.”

Coupled with her inspiration was sheer determination - he woke up at 6am every day and got in eight hours of studying, with breaks in between.

“You get back what you put in. There’s really no magic to it,” he said. Between his eight-hour study sessions he would take power naps and do light exercises, like push-ups and sit-ups, to recharge.

Asked what advice he would like to share, he said: “Don’t bury yourself in your books. Make time for everything.

Make time to relax and be with family. Study like there’s no tomorrow. And also rest, so the information can sink in.

He said his undying love for nature and conservation made his choice of Veterinary Sciences easy. His interests include bird watching, hunting, fishing, wildlife photography, game watching and wildlife tracking.

See also page 2 and 3.