Pressure for 2020 matrics finally sets in
This group will forever be known as the one that survived a global pandemic in their last year of high school.
Matric balls have either been postponed indefinitely or cancelled. There are many other traditions that these Grade 12s have had to forsake.
For Elyas Ayyoub from Constantia, who attends Bishops Diocesan College, it’s no different. He said he was excited when the lockdown began but as time dragged on, he became angry.
“I was voted head of house, so I had a leadership role and I missed out on the whole aspect of leading. We worked really hard in the first term for our eisteddfod - as the matric group we had to do a lot and we really wanted to win this year - and then it got cancelled and all was for nought.”
Ayyoub added: “I was angry. I’m an academically-driven boy so I have no nerves for the exams, but I was angry because the lockdown took away my matric year.”
But he said it was good to be back at school, even though the learning never stopped during lockdown, because their teachers were online every day. This is why the Bishops boys are on their winter break and teaching will resume in three weeks.
Ayyoub is excited and positive for the rest of the school year and his future. “I want to... no I’m going to, get an athletics scholarship to go and study in the USA.”
Tanya Syce, from Steenberg, attends Heathfield High School and said she was a bit more worried about returning to the classroom.
“I wasn’t planning on going back to school, my parents weren’t ready to send me back to school and then school started that Monday, and I only went back on Thursday,” she said.
“Obviously, you get your energy from them, so if they feel like it’s not safe - they always know what’s best for you.”
She said it had been all systems go and there were changes in the classroom, with desks spaced out and pupils not allowed to move from class to class for different subject lessons; the teachers came to them.
Physical distancing during break time was also something to get used to.
“Sometimes you forget about it and stand close to your friends and even want to share food, but then there are teachers there to always remind you.”
Ashley Adams, from Eagle Park near Pelican Park, attends the Cape Academy of Mathematics Science and Technology in Constantia.
He said lockdown learning was a bit tougher for him.
“I was a bit panicked because the school didn’t have a lot of resources that they sent to us, so I had to find my own resources from websites to help me study and get study guides.”
But he said he made the most of the situation and realised it would be best if he created his own routine at home.
“I did my work every day and my family were very supportive and got extra resources for me to help me study. I had a study timetable which I followed every day and that helped me cope.”
Like Grade 12s at other schools, Adams said it had been tough to not get into close contact with friends he hadn’t seen for months when they were reunited at school.
The Grade 12s knew their last year at high school would be memorable, but the pandemic has ensured they won’t forget the trials and tribulations of their matric year.