A matriculant of 2016, Tshepo Thajane from Botshabelo, has received a significant boost towards his dream to study Actuarial Science after being chosen as the winner of the Star of Stars competition. He was announced as the overall-winner at a function held at the University of the Free State (UFS) on Saturday, 14 January.Tshepo, who matriculated from the Lefikeng Secondary School, was voted as the brightest star of the 11 finalists who had been shortlisted. This has opened the door for him to study Actuarial Science enabling him to persue his dream career, a profession which applies mathematical and statistical methods to assess risk in insurance, finance and other industries. The other finalists were: Lehlohonolo Makgema (Lefikeng Secondary School, Botshabelo); Thapelo Koloko and Kamohelo Pole (Kopanong Secondary School, Bloemfontein); Tshwaranang Peme, Lawrence Mogorosi and Humalebe Botipe (Goronyane High School, Thaba Nchu); Andiswa Methu (Ipetleng Secondary School, Petrusburg); Lebohang Lesenyeho and Vuisile Maine (Khauho Secondary School, Botshabelo) and Yanga Hlanjwa (Thabo Vuyo Secondary School, Rouxville). Founded at the end of 2016, the competition is designed to unlock opportunities for learners from poor communities in the Free State.Nomonde Mbadi, marketing director at the UFS, said the aim of the competition was to mainly target learners from gr. 9 to gr. 12 from less fortunate backgrounds in township schools who achieved excellent results, yet could not afford to study at institutions of higher learning due to a lack of funds. “The pilot initiative aimed to enable such learners to access bursaries and scholarships to study further at university,” said Mbadi. “We at the UFS are watching you, and through this initiative we want to help you to succeed and achieve your ultimate goal to study towards prestige qualifications. “The purpose is to provide a vehicle for learners to aspire to excel, achieve excellent results and win the competition.” The initiative recognises the schools which produce winners in the various grades. Mbadi said the 2016 edition was open to gr. 11 and gr. 12 learners, piloted in the two regions of Motheo and Xhariep.