Ayanda, of New Forest High School in Woodlands, Durban, collected four distinctions and three Bs in her matric finals. It was a fine achievement after her earlier C and D symbols in subjects such as maths and accounting.
One of her distinctions was for accounting, a subject for which she had never got an A before the matric finals.
In Grade 10 she told her mother of her struggles and by Grade 11 she was part of a group of dedicated senior high school pupils taking extra lessons at uMlazi’s Menzi High on weekends and during school holidays.
“Since Grade 11, I went as often as I could because I realised I needed the help,”she said.
“I used to get 50s for maths, now I have a B. I’m very proud of the outcome,” she said.
Ayanda’s extra classes would see her leave her suburban school and home in Woodlands and go to the township in uMlazi for academic assistance.
It was worth it as she now intends to study accounting at Wits University.
“At Menzi when you are stuck, they stop and want you to understand before they move on,”she said.
“There’s none of the ‘let’s move on’ mentality. A lot of stuff is repeated.”
Menzi High principal Luntu Ntombela said the school would continue to be open to pupils from other schools.
The school was one of nine in the Umlazi district to attain a 100% pass rate, with 97% of its pupils achieving university entrance passes.
The 126 pupils at the school achieved 276 distinctions between them.
But Ntombela said she was not happy with that.
“We were hoping to get 350 distinctions this year, but the isiZulu distinctions hurt us.”
Ntombela, whose school clinched 100% passes for the sixth year in a row, said that Menzi High achieved 96% and 97% passes in maths and physical science, among those 15 and 16 distinctions respectively.
She encouraged schools to insist on time management and to motivate pupils.