WHEN Nabeelah Fredericks, of Easter Peak Primary School in Manenberg, was told she had been accepted by the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls SA, she stood and repeatedly shouted “congratulations”, while her 8-year-old brother Luqmaan cried with joy.
The 12-year-old Grade 7 pupil has become the first from the school to be admitted to the academy, which admits girls who show they have the ability to excel and to move beyond challenging circumstances.
Nabeelah had decided in 2013 that she wanted to attend the academy. Her teachers helped her to obtain application forms.
School principal Michael Mitchell said that Nabeelah was one of the brightest pupils and her dedication under difficult circumstances was among the things that got her admitted to the academy.
Nabeelah lives in a wendy house with her brothers, mother and her mother’s boyfriend, but are moving as they have been evicted.
After she applied to the academy, she received an SMS inviting her to write an entrance exam at St George’s Grammar School in Mowbray. This was followed by a trip to the academy in Johannesburg.
“I was excited. We stayed in a five-star hotel and I had never experienced that treatment before. I was so excited when I saw the academy and I can’t wait to start next year,” she said yesterday.
She said she had mixed emotions on Monday when a social worker informed her that she had been accepted.
“I was very excited when I was notified that I had been accepted. I took the letter to my friends and bragged about it. When the lady told me, my mommy was laughing and my brother just started to cry.”
She dreams of becoming a flight attendant and wants to open a school for children from Manenberg.
“I want to teach them how to read and tell them that drugs are not good and to give others a chance,” Nabeelah said.