HARD work and dedication paid off for the 2018 top matric learner in Nelson Mandela Bay. Chadleigh Ownhouse, 17, who has been a beneficiary of United Through Sport’s Senior School of Excellence Programme for the past five years, was announced on Friday, January 4, as the top matric learner in Nelson Mandela Bay, with distinctions in seven subjects – including English (86%), Afrikaans (95%), maths (88%), life orientation (95%), history (94%), life sciences (95%), and physical sciences (93%). An excited Chadleigh said he now had a total of seven bursaries to choose from, following the announcement of his matric results last Friday.“I am very happy to not worry about my finances for the year anymore. “I am actually ready for university now, and can’t wait to start,” said Chadleigh, who was so used to waking up early to study that he has kept up his routine during the holidays.He has narrowed his future plans down to two universities and two courses: either studying medicine or chemical engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand or the University of Cape Town. Chadleigh crowned his high school career in 2018 with the achievement of being announced Alexander Road High School’s dux learner at the school’s awards ceremony. In 2018 he was a co-winner in the Senior Maths Relay League and his team participated in the Nelson Mandela University’s rocket-building competition, where they won first prize. He was also part of a team who competed in MINQUIZ, against schools from around the Eastern Cape to answer questions about mathematics, physical science and general knowledge. His team won the platinum division, while Chadleigh achieved the highest marks in the individual written division. For the second year in a row, he also came in the top three of his age group at the annual Rhodes University Mathematics Experience (RUME). Chadleigh is one of 10 beneficiaries from United Through Sport’s Senior School of Excellence Programme who all achieved their 2018 National Senior Certificates. Partner schools where the beneficiaries matriculated include Alexander Road High School (two learners), Pearson High School (three learners), and Victoria Park High School (five learners).The United Through Sport Senior School of Excellence (SSE) Programme, which is based in Nelson Mandela Bay, is focussed on providing talented and determined children with a top-level academic education for a full five years – with the final aim of further supporting them through tertiary studies. Chadleigh’s talents were noticed by United Through Sport director Nick Mould when he was still in primary school at Astra Primary School in Bethelsdorp.Mould said all the SSE graduates were expected to pursue tertiary studies, many being the first in their families to do so. “Compared to the national average, we are very pleased with our 100% pass rate and would like to wish all our beneficiaries well with their future endeavours. We are exceptionally proud of Chadleigh who is testament that hard work and dedication can open many doors,” said Mould.