DURBAN – Pietermaritzburg’s top matric pupils demonstrated their strength of character by achieving good results despite experiencing one of the toughest years in their schooling careers.
Pietermaritzburg Girls High School, Maritzburg College and Raisethorpe Secondary were among the schools in the capital city that had several pupils with distinctions in the all their subjects.
The pupils attributed their success to their faith and family motivation.
Deepika Sirkar, of Pietermaritzburg Girls High School, may have received eight distinctions, but the modest pupil said she was awaiting her results before she decided on her career path.
“It’s a big decision!”
She said she used the Covid-19 lockdown to work ahead of time but still felt rushed towards the end of the year.
Asked for advice for this year’s matric pupils, she said: “The matric class of 2021 must try to be consistent, but give yourself breaks and don’t stress about the small things. Work through past papers.”
Fellow Pietermaritzburg Girls High pupil Aaliyah Randeree, who also achieved eight distinctions, said a big part of the year was staying motivated and setting goals.
“I needed to rely on myself; the year was very different, distance learning and keeping up online especially for maths and physics was not easy, but teachers were helpful with online support and my family played a role with motivation and support in helping me focus and achieve my study goals.”
Aaliyah has her heart set on studying law, but is still weighing her options.
Maritzburg College pupil Sandesh Kidsingh, who got eight distinctions, told the Mercury his faith in God really helped him get through the matric year.
“Knowing my parents sacrificed a lot for me was also motivation to give back to them, and of course my personal goals.”
Sandesh said he had been determined to ensure that he could achieve his goal of studying actuarial science at the University of Pretoria, despite Covid-19 disruptions.
His advice for matrics this year was that they should ensure they tried their best and to never lose faith in themselves.
Spesihle Zondi, also from Maritzburg College, who achieved seven distinctions, said he also felt a strong motivation to make his parents proud.
“My parents have put so much into my education and I wanted to make them proud. I knew I was not doing it by myself, but I have my Lord and saviour Jesus Christ with me. This grounded me during the tough parts of the year which was challenging, because we were only focused on academics and I use sport to take my mind off the academic stress.”
Spesihle plans to study Business Science at the University of Pretoria.
“I plan to start my own business, and want to create jobs in the future.”
Ahmad Ashraf Bayat, of Raisethorpe Secondary School, said consistency was the key to his success and taking the matric year one day at a time.
“The most stressful was the lockdown and not knowing whether we would even finish our matric syllabus or year in 2020,” he said.
Ahmad, who got seven distinctions, said he is keen on study engineering but hadn’t decided which university he would be studying at.
He advised the class of 2021 to “work hard and have confidence in your abilities”.