Justine Crook-Mansour receives an award from Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Western Cape matrics shone on the national stage as they received their results on Friday.

At the top achievers’ ceremony in Gauteng, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga named a Rustenburg girl the top matric in the country.

Justine Crook-Mansour achieved above 96% for all seven of her subjects, her highest result being 100% for history.

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer was positive about the province’s 81.5% pass rate, despite the drop of 2.9%.

“I am pleased that we have maintained our position in the country and still maintained a high level of retention. We have improved on our Bachelor’s passes, maths and physical sciences passes, and we have some of the top achievers in the country,” she said.

Another Western Cape star is Kamva Goso from Intsebenziswano High School in Philippi. Kamva was the top matric in the country from Quintile 2 schools, and also second highest nationally in physical science.

Rondebosch Boys’ High pupil Timothy Schlesinger placed second in the country for maths, with Westerford’s Liam Gurney coming third.

Liam’s matric certificate records a perfect 100% for NSC maths, and he achieved 96% for advanced programme maths.

“It’s been one consistent journey of working and not giving up,” he said yesterday as he received his results.

This year Liam is heading to UCT to begin his BSc in computer science studies.

Westerford principal Rob le Roux said this matric group faced many serious psychological challenges, and was pleased that all but two matrics obtained a Bachelor’s pass.

The 2018 academic year was a huge success for Masibambisane Secondary School in Delft. The school attained a 79.1% matric pass rate, surpassing their previous best of 74% in 2009 and completely turning around the disappointing 48.1% in 2017.

Out of 158 matrics, 44 achieved a Bachelor’s pass and 45 got diploma admission.

The school’s top pupil, 17-year-old Asiphe Bobile of Nyanga, attained two distinctions and three Bs.

“I am overwhelmed and proud about my Bachelor’s pass because all my hard work paid off,” said Asiphe, who aims to become a pharmacist and will be studying at either UCT or Wits University.

Principal Kayaletu Boesman said he was over the moon with the massive increase in the pass rate, and planned to continue the progress this year.

“What we did was put the basic things in place, such as teachers being on time for class, to make sure pupils were learning all the time and to keep them motivated. We also got teachers from other schools to help out,” he said.

Herschel Girls’ School in Claremont produced an outstanding set of results. Of the class of 107, a whopping 75 matrics achieved an A aggregate - with 15 of those finishing with an average over 90%.

“I’m just so proud of the girls,” said principal Stuart West. “These are exceptional results.”

Charlotte Louw was the top achiever and dux. She finished with an average of 97% for her nine subjects - but her road to outstanding results was full of trials.

“At the start of Grade 11 I was taken out of school because I had an eating disorder,” she said.

“I had anxiety and depression.”

She was treated as an outpatient.

When she returned to school, she founded a peer support group to help other pupils, as she continued to grapple with anxiety in her matric year.

All through matric exams, Charlotte’s mother, Nicolette, was fighting her own battles.

“My mom had breast cancer,” Charlotte said. “She’s just had her last chemo session. So it’s been hard but I’m so glad it’s over.”

She has been accepted to study a BSc in astrophysics at UCT, and wants to become a theoretical physicist.

Celebrations were also in full swing at Settlers High School, which attained a 97.8% pass rate. This group of matriculants had a rough year when they lost one of their classmates to brain stem cancer, said deputy headmistress Louisa Hall.

“It was a tough time for the group; he died two weeks after being diagnosed,” she said. “They bounced back though, we are very proud of them.”

Their top performer, Beatrice Mwamba, obtained seven distinctions.

Another student overjoyed with his results was Phetokuhle Nkayi. He got a Bachelors pass and received a bursary to study sports science at the Tshwane University of Technology.

Bellville South High School had a 66.7% rate out of the 124 students who wrote their exams.

“We have already gone back to the drawing board to try and think of ways to make this year better,” said headmistress Racqel September.

She said even though the district did not provide counselling for the students who did not make it, the staff and herself would be speaking to them and encouraging them to try again.

Weekend Argus