Four aim for top in all their efforts

Academic excellence opens doors for aces who also shine as well balanced individuals

While most matric pupils are overjoyed to received an A symbol on their certificates, a group of four finalists for The Herald Absa Matric of the Year competition are disappointed if even one of their symbols reflects anything less.
While most matric pupils are overjoyed to received an A symbol on their certificates, a group of four finalists for The Herald Absa Matric of the Year competition are disappointed if even one of their symbols reflects anything less.

While most matric pupils are overjoyed to received an A symbol on their certificates, this group of four finalists for The Herald Absa Matric of the Year competition are disappointed if even one of their symbols reflects anything less.

‘A’ aggregate pupils Douw Steenkamp, 18, of Grey High School, Elz-Mari du Plessis, 18, of Pearson High School, Oyekanmi Aderibigbe, 18, of Muir College Boys High, and Tanitah Deyzel, 17, of St Dominic’s Priory, have ensured their options remain open – producing results good enough for acceptance to virtually any tertiary course.

However, Deyzel has already made up her mind to study medicine at either the University of Stellenbosch or University of Cape Town – one of the few applicants who was approved before the closing date for applications.

St Dominic’s Priory head of department Selma Louwrens said: “One of her [Deyzel’s] most outstanding qualities is that despite her achievements, she has remained a humble and sincerely compassionate and caring young lady, both [to] her peers and outside community. She was a top academic student in her grade every year from grade 8 to grade 12, obtaining certificates of excellence for all her subjects every year.

“Her work ethic and time management are outstanding and her academic achievements were obtained despite an extremely busy sporting and service schedule.”

Muir College principal Robin Stephenson said Aderibigbe had also already been accepted to study medicine at the University of Stellenbosch on a four-year recruitment bursary.

“He is an outstanding learner who relishes intellectual stimulation. He is conscientious and consistent in his work and takes pride in delivering work of the highest quality,” Stephenson said.

“He is a mature, intelligent young man who always strives for excellence.

“He is dedicated to his work and has prepared himself well for his future.

“He is a young man of integrity who is well-liked and respected and has been an example to the rest of his peers.”

Pearson High School Afrikaans teacher Jaco Gerber said Du Plessis is a confident and independent thinker, which had led to her many academic successes.

“Her analytical mind has allowed her to mature into an independent thinker with superb understanding of the creative perspective – well beyond her years.

“I have found her to be sincere and assertive, yet tolerant of the views and beliefs held by others,” Gerber said.

Du Plessis said: “My greatest life achievement was remaining in the top five through my grades – and being an activist for animal rights and those less privileged.

“Standing up for my beliefs and what is right is one of the special moments. I did not submit myself to peer pressure.”

Another straight A pupil, Steenkamp was described by Grey director of music Shawn Lyon as having unmistakable intelligence and aptitude.

“Douw has a strong impetus to succeed and to make a difference. He is an exceptionally high achiever over a wide range of interests,” Lyon said.

“His academic and sporting achievements have also been pursued to the highest level.

“He has been a very busy but very well organised and balanced individual.

“I have yet to find anything of which he is not capable.”

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