Matriculant who lost dad to Covid-19 to pursue medical degree after obtaining 9 distinctions
Johannesburg - A Bedfordview school’s highest matric achiever, whose father died of Covid-19 in August, said the support from his family, friends and school gave him motivation to achieve nine distinctions.
The life of George Georgiades, from Saheti School in Bedfordview, changed during the most stressful year of high school when his father tragically died during the August school holidays.
The matriculant told The Star that like many of his 2020 classmates, his matric year was difficult because of the surprise that teaching would move online as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Being online meant that the working hours were a lot more hectic, and it was nothing like normal school. Normal school was like 8am to 3pm, and then you’d study for about two hours and you were good; but now it was an 8am to 12 midnight commitment,” he said.
Georgiades said that after his father’s passing it was difficult, but he was thankful that the holidays allowed him to grieve.
“My family, my friend and even my school were very supportive and they allowed me to continue the year as normally as possible. I think the fact that it was online worked in my favour because I could work to my own schedule,” he said.
The 18-year-old said that although last year was tough, he was able to keep his head above water with the assistance of his family, friends and school.
The matriculant’s support structure and determination paid off because Georgiades was Saheti’s top achieving pupil for 2020, achieving the highest average marks with 94.2%. Georgiades obtained nine distinctions in the subjects of English, Information Technology, isiZulu, Life Orientation, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Modern Greek, Physical Sciences and Advanced Programme Mathematics in his final exams.
The school confirmed that Georgiades had been named an Outstanding Achiever by the Independent Education Board, ranking in the top 5% of IEB candidates nationally in six or more subjects. He was also ranked within the top 1% nationally in English, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Modern Greek and Advanced Programme Mathematics.
The pupil said he always wanted to have a holistic experience in high school by playing sports and doing extracurricular activities, including water polo, rugby and chess.
He added that at the start of 2020 he was looking forward to the social aspect of being a senior and one of the “big boys” at school.
“We missed out on quite a lot,” he said.
Georgiades has decided that he wants to study towards a medicine degree at Wits University, because it was a good university and close to home.
“I’ve been drawn to medicine since I was quite young. I really want to help people, so I want to go into a career where I can make a difference in the community and the space I live in,” he said.
He added that he had always wanted a career where he could make a difference, and that was why biomedical engineering had also been a consideration in the past.