STAR COLLEGE in Musgrave, Durban, celebrated its 10th year of existence by maintaining its record 100% matric pass rate with all their 120 matric pupils passing. Principal Osman Karaayvaz said the key ingredients to matric success were extra tuition and extra lessons. Among their star performers is Amitha Doodnath, who achieved 10 distinctions and is now planning to study actuarial science at the University of Cape Town. “We had been preparing for matric since Grade 11,” she said. “The school provided a study timetable … there were study hours between five and seven in the afternoon when we could ask questions.” Amitha belongs to the first year of girl pupils to matriculate from Star College. Initially a boys’ high school, there is now an adjacent girls’ high school. Run under the banner of the Horizon Educational Trust, both schools are staffed in the main by Turkish teachers, in keeping with the trust’s aim to cultivate a relationship between Turkey and South Africa. Amitha lives with her extended family, which put pressure on studying. However, her parents created a separate area for her to study in. Her father is a policeman and her mother a housewife. In her spare time, Amitha likes to watch television and read, naming Stephen King as her favourite author, and Revenge and Suits among her favourite television programmes. “I also like Japanese anime.” Asked what contribution she would like to make to society, Amitha said she wanted to help as many people as possible. “If you have the resources, why should you keep them to yourself? “Education is the key to the future. Nelson Mandela was passionate about education and even made sure there were classes when he was on Robben Island.” Fellow pupil Mohammed Wasim Khan, also attained 10 distinctions and was relieved he had done well. “Now I’m quite chuffed. My mum’s off my case.” Mohammed intends studying aeronautical engineering at the University of the Witswatersrand, a choice reflecting his hobby of building model cars. Mohammed is also keen on sport and maintaining a social life. “It’s important to keep a balance.” Mohammed paid tribute to his teachers, saying they were “always on tap”. Mohammed hopes to get through his studies quickly and get a job in order to make a contribution to South Africa. Because of the crime rate, Mohammed said a lot of his fellow pupils intend getting their qualifications and then going overseas. “But I intend staying here and making South Africa a better place.” In all, 24 pupils from Star College attained eight distinctions or more. According to deputy principal Anuj Maharaj, this was thanks to “a lot of dedication” on the part of the pupils and their teachers, both of whom were “willing to give their time after school and on Saturdays”.