Caring donor rewards matric pupils' sacrifice

For the past 12 years, a Mpumalanga high school has achieved a 100% pass rate due to a culture of camping for a few months before the start of the matric exams.

However, the situation at the Moses Mnisi High School in Acornhoek is not conducive for learning as pupils sleep on the floor, mostly without blankets or mattresses, and sometimes with nothing to eat at night.

The group of 150, which started camping at the school in August, said they would leave the camp at the end of exams on November 28.

The school's deputy principal Vivian Makhubele said following a Sunday Times report about the school, Coronation Fund Managers donated R200000 worth of food, blankets and mattresses.

"Coronation Fund Managers read the article and called me and said they wanted to help. They said they were going to give each learner a blanket, a mattress, personal care products and provided the school with food so that we can feed the learners," Makhubele said.

"We never hoped we will get such support all the way from Cape Town."

 The matrics come to school voluntarily from August every year to start the programme of study towards final exams.

 "My learners used to go to exam rooms without breakfast. We had to rely on the feeding school for a meal during the day as we are a Quintile 1 (no-fee) school.

"In the evening every learner had to provide for his or her own bread. But now with the assistance, our refrigerator is full of meat, vegetables and extra bread."

 Makhubele said the children study at the school hall, where they also sleep.

He said the camping matrics slept at midnight when they had no exam the following day, and around 9.30pm if there was an exam the next day.

Makhubele said last year, the school had 150 matriculants.

Wendy Bergsteedt, Coronation's group head of marketing, said the company wanted to reward excellence.

"This is a group of learners that had a will to succeed against all odds," she said.

Bergsteedts said they had also identified five learners from the school who qualified for the company's bursary programme for study towards commerce degrees.

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