RACHEL Job was the only local pupil to score eight As for this year’s matric exams. Joining her at the top of the pile were five of her schoolmates from Girls’ High School, who all achieved seven distinctions each. Sticking to a timetable, balancing schoolwork and social life and working from day one did the trick for this top crop. Rachel told said her results came as a great relief, adding: “I had a lot of support from my parents who are always encouraging learning and to be committed to work every day.”She plans to study actuarial science at the University of Stellenbosch. Tamika Govender, who scored seven As, wants to study civil engineering at the University of Pretoria. “I’m so grateful to God, my teachers and my parents. I worked very hard and it paid off,” she said.Emma Arnold, meanwhile, made her way to seven As by studying for an hour at home before school even started.“I had a timetable that I worked from. I used past papers and also had a tutor,” she said.Emma, who dreams of being a vet, added: “I am very excited; I wasn’t expecting this at all.” Aphile Khanyile told saidthat she found it a challenge to juggle schoolwork, her social life and her leadership positions. She plans to study civil engineering at the University of the Witwaterstrand. Simile Mbhele’s top performance reduced her to tears. “It’s a joy knowing I’m getting closer to my dreams of becoming a doctor,” she said. “I made a lot of sacrifices to pull this off.” She applied to study medicine at several universities and has not made her mind up yet as to exactly which one she will attend. Rounding out the pack was Jessica Palmer, who was in Finland on an exchange programme. “I feel relieved and surprised. It’s surreal. I put in a lot of preparation,” she said, adding that she plans to study medicine at Wits University.