For a moment Collins Tinyiko Baloyi ran out of words when he learnt that he was one of the top matric achievers this year.
Baloyi, 16, a matriculant at Thuto-Lesedi Secondary School in Vosloorus, east of Johannesburg, is the top achiever in mathematics and physical science, obtaining a distinction in each subject.
Baloyi scored full marks in physical science and missed another full score in mathematics by only five marks.
He also obtained a distinction in XiTsonga.
"I'm surprised. I don't know what to say. I knew I would pass but becoming a top achiever really caught me by surprise," said an ecstatic Baloyi, adding that the papers were difficult.
"It was really difficult but I worked hard. I started preparing for my exams in June. I didn't wait for the teachers to tell us to study," he said.
Baloyi's impressive results came as no surprise to his mathematics teacher Thabiso Koleile.
"I expected it. He was one of the three learners from whom I expected distinctions. He worked really hard throughout the year. I'm really happy for him," said Koleile who described his student as a quiet but hard working person.
Koleile said he started teaching Baloyi last year when he joined the school to do grade 11.
"He's always been committed to his work and has demonstrated a potential for a distinction since then," said an overjoyed Koleile.
Baloyi said his passion for mathematics and science started when he was in grade seven.
"I was fascinated by the experiments and solving mathematics problems. That's where it all started. I also enjoyed biology and geography," he said.
Baloyi believes his ability to balance "work with entertainment" enabled him to cope.
"I studied very hard and balanced that with a game of cheers with my friends to relax my mind," he said.
He said he wanted to study civil engineering next year.
"I applied for bursaries but have not had any response. Now that I've got my results I'm praying that somebody will respond so that I can realise my dream," he said.
Baloyi's school also improved its overall results. Last year the pass rate was 80,63percent but the class of 2006 has achieved a pass rate of 90,3percent