Road to the top wasn’t easy, says class that made Tshwane shine
Pretoria - Matric learners whose collective efforts earned Tshwane the accolade of being the best performer in the 2020 exams said making it to the top was not easy.
While the Free State was ahead of the rest nationally, with an 85.1% pass rate, Gauteng second with 83.3% and the Western Cape third with 79.9%, Tshwane South was the best performing district in the country.
At Sutherland High school in the Tshwane South District, learners said they experienced their fair share of struggles getting into the “new normal” of online learning.
Sumia Manga said the matric year was difficult.
Despite being an A student, she found herself slacking with the online system and had difficulty coping on a computer screen for hours at a time.
Manga said she soon realised she had to put her foot down and move by working non-stop, sacrificing every family outing, birthday parties and other events, to study constantly.
She was already burnt out by the end of the preliminary exams, but pushed herself even further, which garnered her seven distinctions, which she was happy with.
“I was shocked when I got 99% for history, and even though I had a rocky road with maths and ended up getting 74% – which is my only B – I am still happy with the results because I did my best under the circumstances.”
Kgantso Maimane said the first few months of the online system were tough and he found that online was just not for him.
Despite this, he did well under the circumstances and was grateful to some extent that schools were allowed to reopen later on, to properly get them into a system of self-study.
Deputy principal Andile Magagula said the school fared well and managed to obtain a 100% pass rate due to the fact that parents, learners, the governing body and the leadership made it a community effort to see the learners through.
Hoërskool Menlopark also obtained a 100% pass rate for the class of 2020, with a 100% pass in maths, physical science and accounting, from the group of 325 learners who sat for the exams.
The school said it had also managed to achieve 309 Bachelor passes, with 868 distinctions, including distinctions in alpha maths.
The school’s top two learners were twin sisters Noèll and Danelle van der Walt, who obtained a 95.3% and 93.6% average between them, with eight distinctions each.
Noèll said she was still undecided on furthering her studies as she was “weighing it up” between mathematical sciences and medicine.
“Self-discipline was the key factor, because 2020 was an extremely challenging year. It tested each of our characters and perseverance to the extreme. I developed a new perspective and it changed my outlook on life.
“It feels like we have been deprived of such a large part of our lives, but other things have come to fill our lives,” added Danelle.
“It was not so easy to concentrate on the academics without a nice hard hockey practice or tennis match, but everyone had to adapt quickly and make the best of the situation.”
Danelle said she too was unsure of what to pursue, but had settled for studying medicine with Stellenbosch University.