THEY may have had to tweak their career choices somewhat for various reasons, but these The Herald Matric of the Year finalists are determined to work in fields they are passionate about.
The four are driven by their will to follow careers that will impact positively on society.
From town planners and biomedical engineers to doctors, these matriculants appear to have a knack for the design process.
Sarah Mclean, 18, of Queenstown Girls’ High School, had always wanted to be a doctor, but after a job-shadow opportunity at the local hospital, she realised she could not stand the sight of blood.
Not wanting to give up her dream of working in the medical field, she has decided on a career in biomedical engineering – where she can combine her creative streak with her knowledge of biology to make medical apparatus.
“I love biology and everything about the human body, but I can’t do medicine because I’m squeamish. So biomedical engineering makes me stay in the medical field without having to deal with any blood and gore.
“I could make equipment needed by doctors and patients, like prosthetic legs and stuff,” she said.
Sarah is a head girl and also heads the school’s Burt House. She is part of the Representative Council for Learners and a member of the Interact club and school governing body. She is a hockey and tennis player and a ballerina who has helped teach ballet at a dancing school. She has colours for dancing and passed the Grade 7 ballet exam at the Royal Academy of Dance with merit.
Sarah was the recipient of a cum laude scroll and a scholar badge for her outstanding grades.
Martina Mac Donald, 17, of Uitenhage High School, loves geography and has always wanted to pursue a career in environmental studies.
When a new course was introduced at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, however, she decided to follow a career in town planning through studying human settlements development.
“The course caught my eye and excited me because of my love for geography,” she said.
She is head girl, deputy mayor of the Junior City Council and Interact co-ordinator.
She plays volleyball for the Eastern Cape and received an award for being the best defensive player. She has represented the country in gymnastics tournaments in Namibia and Austria. She won a gold medal in the Gym for Life competition last year and swam the River Mile.
Martina was the all-round academic winner at her school last year.
She is a member of the environmental awareness club Eco-Limited and Teenagers Against Drug Abuse (Tada).
Jason Collier, 18, of Grey High School, wants to study mechatronics – a combination of electrical and chemical engineering – at NMMU.
Jason, who achieved a 95% and 78% aggregate in maths and science respectively in June, said he had always wanted to go into engineering. “I’m very interested in mechanics. I just love taking things apart and putting them back together again.”
Collier is a prefect and rugby captain as well as vice-captain of the first swimming team. He is a student officer in the school’s cadet detachment and a member of the school’s community service wing Grey Union. He has provincial colours in lifesaving and has accumulated more than 70 hours of voluntary service as a lifesaver in two seasons.
His academic achievements include a silver medal at the De Beers English Olympiad, full school colours in academics and an 84% national benchmark test average.
Jason leads the school’s symphonic wind and military bands and is a member of the Grey orchestra.
Meera Kesavapillai, 17, of Clarendon High School for Girls, said she had always wanted to be a doctor, but when she started visiting the paediatric oncology ward at Frere Hospital she wanted to specialise in paediatrics.
Meera, whose brother Vishnu Pillai was the academic category winner last year, said she was “probably going to become a general practitioner as I never really thought about specialising”.
“When I started volunteering at the Choc ward, I realised I enjoyed it, although it can be quite depressing, and I wanted to go into paediatrics,” she said.
She is the chairwoman of the Hindu Students Society and secretary of the Interact club, and serves on the first aid, chess and library committees.
She has academic honours and has maintained an aggregate of more than 90% throughout high school.
She received top awards in the Harmony maths and De Beers English and Bio-science olympiads.
Meera is also about giving back to the community, spending her spare time visiting the Choc ward and the Manor House old age home.
She taught matric pupils at Qhasana High School and was part of the Border Rural Committee, where she helped underprivileged children in rural communities.
The bubbly matric pupil was described as a “quick- thinking young lady who enjoys interacting with people”.