WITH her mother as her biggest supporter, Nelson Mandela Bay’s top matric learner said there is no secret to her success – just pushing forward and hard work. While working through past exam papers to secure her seven distinctions, Chelsea Clotz (18) from Pearson High School, said she had no expectations of achieving the top spot in the Bay. “I was expecting the marks I got for my final exams because I had been working towards them for quite a while. I’ve always been academically driven, but it was only in Grade 10 when I could choose my subjects, had I begin to enjoy it more and focussed more to do better,” Clotz said. Clotz was honoured last week at a gala event in East London as the top matriculant in the Nelson Mandela Bay, together with the rest of the province’s top achievers. Hailing from Humewood in Port Elizabeth, Clotz had been accepted to study mechatronics at the Nelson Mandela University, thanks to her average of 91%.Although languages have never been her strong point, she still achieved over 90% for both languages.She added, “I struggled a bit more with my languages, but managed to get distinctions for them. “My favourite subject is mathematics because there’s minimal theory to learn – it’s just calculations.” Clotz described her parents as overwhelmed but ecstatic and overall proud of her achievements. “My mom was definitely my biggest supporter. She never hesitated to drive me around at 22:00 when I forgot to print something for school the next day,” she said.Her driving force in school has always been to better her marks of her previous reports, and she was so determined that she often sat with her books at 02:00 behind her desk to study. She said, “I’ve studied quite hard for my trial exams so that I only had to revise the work for my final exams.”With a love for surfing and her life revolving mostly around the waves, she is set to take on the new venture as a university student. “My advice to other learners who wish to excel in academics is to be well prepared. “Study really hard for your trial exams so you don’t have to cram just before finals,” she said.