Determined to do their best
The best is not good enough for the Bay’s top three matriculants, who all agreed they could have done even better.
One of the star pupils, Chadleigh Ownhouse, 17, from Alexander Road High School, said he was so used to getting up early to study that he had kept up his routine during the holidays.
Ownhouse, Adrian Grove, 18, from Pearson High School and Nkcubeko Sonjani, 17, from Nzondelelo High School, were among the top performing Bay pupils in 2018.
The trio were all honoured at the department of education’s prestigious provincial top achievers award ceremony held at the East London International Convention Centre on Friday.
Grove earned a joint third place overall provincially with seven distinctions, Ownhouse claimed top pupil in the Nelson Mandela Bay teaching district with seven distinctions, while Sonjani won the top Previously Disadvantaged pupil in the district with six distinctions.
Sonjani said despite attending classes throughout the year and additional mathematics and physical sciences classes on a Saturday and Sunday, he believed he could have achieved more.
“I sacrificed so much, but can’t help but feel I could have done better.
“While I am happy to receive an accolade at these awards, I was actually aiming for the national awards.
“But regardless, I know I have done enough for a good foundation,” Sonjani said.
He said he would be studying a BSc in medical sciences at the University of Pretoria in 2019.
“I hope my achievement also helps encourage other pupils from similar backgrounds to realise through dedication and sacrifice they can become whatever they want.
“Where you are now does not have to determine where you are in future,” Sonjani said.
An excited Ownhouse said he now had a total of seven bursaries to choose from, following the announcement of his matric results on Friday.
“I am very happy to not worry about my finances for the year anymore.
“I am actually ready for university now, and can’t wait to start,” Ownhouse said.
He has narrowed his future plans down to two universities and two courses: either studying medicine or chemical engineering at Wits or UCT.
Ownhouse’s talents were noticed by United Through Sport director Nick Mould when he was still in primary school at Astra Primary School in Bethelsdorp.
And he became one of ten beneficiaries from United Through Sport’s Senior School of Excellence Programme.
“We would like to wish all our beneficiaries well with their future endeavours.
“We are exceptionally proud of Chadleigh, who is testament that hard work and dedication can open many doors for you,” Mould said.
Grove said he would be pursuing a BCom degree in actuarial sciences at Stellenborsh University.
And while he was happy with his results, he also hoped for a percentage point or two higher.
“Twelve years of hard work finally paid off and this is definitely the highlight of my schooling career.
“Being placed third overall was something I was hoping for but I didn’t expect it,” Grove said at the awards on Friday.
“When I was invited to the awards I knew the work was worth it.
“And when they didn’t announce my name at the begining prizes, the anticipation grew and when it was eventually my time, I knew it was something big.”
The Nelson Mandela Bay teaching district also achieved the highest overall pass rate in 2018 (76.1%) of all 12 teaching districts in the province.