Top matric student fulfils granny's last wish

Top matric achievers Ijaz Ahmed, Lukas van der Merwe, Jason Brown and Kylen Govender pose for a picture at St Stithians Boys' College in Johannesburg.
Top matric achievers Ijaz Ahmed, Lukas van der Merwe, Jason Brown and Kylen Govender pose for a picture at St Stithians Boys' College in Johannesburg.
Image: ALON SKUY

A pupil from St Stithians Boys’ College in Johannesburg has fulfilled his grandmother's last wish: to pass matric and to pass it well.

Kylen Govender obtained eight distinctions - in English, isiZulu, mathematics, advanced programme mathematics, French, life sciences, physical sciences and life orientation.

"I don't think it has hit me yet, but I think it's one of the biggest achievements in my family. My parents are extremely proud of me. I am also proud of myself, because I have put in a lot of effort into this," said Govender.

He said while his parents played an instrumental role in his success, it was a dream of his late grandmother for him to pass matric with flying colours.

"I do feel a bit sad that she is not here today, but I know she is here in spirit. She would have been bragging to everyone because that's the type of person she was," he said.  

"This was definitely something she always dreamt of. I am at peace that she is smiling down on me." 

Govender is now hoping to study medicine at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

The IEB results were released at midnight on Wednesday, revealing a 98.92% matric pass rate for 2018, compared to the previous year's 98.76%.

The top achiever at St Stithians was Jason Brown, who obtained nine distinctions - in English, isiZulu, maths, advanced programme maths, information technology, life sciences, music, physical sciences and life orientation.

Brown, who is also the school's deputy head boy, said the most difficult part of his matric journey was finding a balance between his demanding leadership role and his academics.

"To try and balance all the stresses of being in high school and get good marks was tough, but I think if you put your mind to it, you can almost achieve anything. You just need to prioritise and be constant," said Brown.

Brown loves music and recently obtained his Grade 7 in violin. He also led a group of singers at the school.

"Something that is extremely important in matric is not to devote yourself entirely to academics, because you need to prioritise your happiness as well. I think it's something we often forget. You need to do things that give you joy. Music was a release for me," he said.

Brown is hoping to study at UCT and then pursue a career in technology. "The opportunities that exist in technology are endless," he said.

You need to prioritise your happiness as well. I think it's something we often forget. You need to do things that give you joy.
Jason Brown

Like Govender, Ijaz Mohamed also obtained eight distinctions - in English, isiZulu, maths, advanced programme maths, history, life sciences, physical sciences and life orientation.

Mohamed said his biggest challenge this year was to make everyone in his family proud. "When a lot of people are counting on you and they need you to do well, and you don't have any second chances, then really you can't mess up," he said.

"I think sometimes you must be able to take a step back and relax and calm down."

Mohamed said he also received support from his history teacher, who never stopped believing in him.

Mohamed, who likes to write in his spare time, dreams of becoming an author. He said he is still indecisive about his career choice and is struggling to decide between helping people in the medical field or following his passion for maths and physics.

His message to the youth was simple: "Don't let the state of the world get you down. Sometimes you just really have to put the bad news down and carry on. You just have to live your life and do the best as you can."

Another St Stithians matriculant, Lukas van der Merwe also obtained eight distinctions - in English, Afrikaans, maths, advanced programme maths, history, information technology, physical sciences and life orientation.

Van der Merwe, who is off to study electronic engineering at the University of Stellenbosch, said swimming training made him a hardworking and ambitious young man.

"When I stopped swimming, I wanted to do well in something else and that was academics. Everything went smooth sailing this year," he said.


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