Nerrisa Naidoo has matriculated from Hoërskool Menlopark with nine distinctions under difficult circumstances. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)
Nerrisa Naidoo has matriculated from Hoërskool Menlopark with nine distinctions under difficult circumstances. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

It’s all about hard work for Hoërskool Menlopark matriculant with nine distinctions

By Zelda Venter Time of article published Mar 2, 2021

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Pretoria - Hard work always pays off. This is the motto according to which Nerissa Naidoo lives her life. The motto has led her to score nine distinctions in the 2020 matric exams.

Naidoo, the daughter of Devan, a chief director at National Treasury, is humble about her achievements and said it was all about how much work she put in.

She matriculated from the Hoërskool Menlopark with an average of 93%. Naidoo has distinctions in English, Afrikaans, maths, advanced maths, life orientation, life sciences, physical sciences, geography and history.

Although life has been difficult at times, she did not let obstacles stand in her way. She lost her mother, Emmerentia, in June 2015. “My mother was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2014. She fought bravely, but sadly passed away the following year.”

Her mother, who was Afrikaans, worked for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation. It is her part Afrikaans background which saw her attend Laerskool Lynnwood and later Hoërskool Menlopark.

Naidoo is the eldest of three children and is very close to her siblings Anushka, 13, who is also attending Hoërskool Menlopark, and her brother Vishay, 11, who is in Grade 6 at Laerskool Lynnwood. She said they were a close-knit family and she was especially fond of her granny, Martie Schutte, 81.

The Covid-19 pandemic provided some challenges in writing Naidoo’s final exams. “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the entire world. As I am interested in the medical field, it is fascinating to watch experts on TV.

“Adapting to online study was a huge adjustment. The non-writing of the 2020 June examinations was also disconcerting. Fortunately, Hoërskool Menlopark has excellent teachers who rose to the occasion, to ensure a smooth transition. The pandemic has been a game changer and our grade tried to make the best of the pandemic.”

This year, Naidoo will pursue medical studies at Wits University. She had offers from other universities such as Stellenbosch and Pretoria, but Wits was her first choice.

She said her nine distinctions were the best news ever. “This is the best birthday present. I turn 19 in March. I am looking forward to the next chapter in my life. I wanted to be a doctor from the age of 12.”

Naidoo believes without hard work, there was no gain.

“In the words of one of my teachers, ‘hard work always pays off.’ I studied to the best of my ability. My father encourages us to be the best we can be. I am also grateful for the tremendous support from our housekeeper, my family and my friends.

“I consider myself smart; smart enough to know my imperfections and what I need to learn and how to do better. Over the years, I took additional classes in maths and science.”

When she does not have her nose in her books, she takes time off to run, read and converse with her family. Baking is also high on Naidoo’s list. “I bake, much to the joy of my family. We love entertaining and our daily family dinners around the table are a joy.

“My favourite dishes are salmon, lasagna and butter chicken. My dad is a great cook and a great teacher. But he is learning to let go a bit in the kitchen.”

Her advice to future matrics is to be positive, smile, aim high, work smartly and put in the hours.

Pretoria News

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