School tops and tots

2010-01-14 00:00

KZN’s top achievers in the 2009 matric examinations got their moment to shine yesterday, a week after the results were officially announced, during an award ceremony held at Durban Boys’ High School.

A computer fault prevented the announcement when the overall pass rate was released last week.

In the public school category, Ladysmith High School’s Zainab Kharva was the top pupil, with Heather Prince of Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High third. Another city pupil, Sheldon Moodley of Heather Secondary, was fifth. Westville Girls’ High had both the eighth and 10th best pupils.

Among independent schools, Crawford College dominated four of the top five positions, with Al-Falaah College in third.

Born into a family of five and having a blind father, Kharva (18) said she knows all about hardships, but it was exactly these conditions that made her a fighter.

“My father is undoubtedly my biggest role model. He managed to become a chartered accountant and on top of that run his own company,” an emotional Kharva told The Witness.

She admitted to working towards straight As when she sat down for her examinations, but said she did not expect to do this well.

“It is unbelievable. I was shocked when I got my results. But I really didn’t have an option. I am a middle child and my two older brothers are both accountants. They work with my father. They were really instrumental in me doing well. They would often give up their cricket games to help me study when I got stuck.”

Kharva added that her teachers were “amazing”.

“They really went out of their way and took the time to help even at break time,” she said.

She believes consistency year after year is key.

“But my advice for matrics this year would be to never give up. Perseverance is the key. They have to believe that nothing is impossible.”

Kharva is to study Medicine at the University of Pretoria.

Girls’ High’s Prince was her school’s dux, and like Kharva, achieved eight A symbols.

She placed first in the uMngungundlovu district and third overall.

She said it was important for her to maintain a balanced life in her matric year.

“I definitely don’t consider myself a nerd or overly smart. I think it’s a combination of working hard consistently, because what many people try to do is work hard only in matric when every grade counts.”

She said she also kept up outside interests, like dancing and playing the flute in the school’s band.

She is off to Rhodes University where she will study towards a B.Sc.

Prince has two younger sisters in grades 11 and seven and what she will tell them about matric is “to make their own way and to enjoy it”.

Premier Zweli Mkhize, who was the guest of honour at the function, delivered an impromptu speech congratulating all the awardees, adding that their success was the province’s success.

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