Achieving, despite all odds

2018-01-16 06:01

A Westerford High School learner has received a special ministerial award from education minister Debbie Schafer.

Genevieve Heathcote-Marks, who received the award at a ceremony at the Premier’s residence, Leeuwenhof, on Thursday 11 January, achieved excellent academic results in the face of personal obstacles, Schafer said.

Heathcote-Marks was chosen “precisely because it is often assumed that if one goes to a school in the so-called ‘leafy suburbs’, everything comes easy,” she said.

“[The award] goes to a candidate who has achieved exceptional academic achievement and exhibited inspirational courage, despite huge personal ­challenges.”

Heathcote-Marks lost her mother in primary school and was then raised by her father. Due to strained family relationships, in Grade 9 she moved out of home and into rented accommodation with another family.

“This must have had an immense effect on her emotionally. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, which one could well have understood given her circumstances, she supported herself by working two jobs. She continued being involved in the life of the school, using her immense talent as an opera singer to great effect,” said Schafer.

“Her peers say that despite her hardships and challenges, she is kind, caring, humble and full of life. She was acknowledged by her school at the end of last year when she won the principal award for fortitude, and passed her matric with six distinctions and an average of 83.3% at one of the top academic schools in the province. This recipient is truly an example of how one can, with hard work and the right attitude, succeed despite ­hardships.”

A Westerford High School learner has received a special ministerial award from education minister Debbie Schafer.

Genevieve Heathcote-Marks, who received the award at a ceremony at the Premier’s residence, Leeuwenhof, on Thursday 11 January, achieved excellent academic results in the face of personal obstacles, Schafer said.

Heathcote-Marks was chosen “precisely because it is often assumed that if one goes to a school in the so-called ‘leafy suburbs’, everything comes easy,” she said.

“[The award] goes to a candidate who has achieved exceptional academic achievement and exhibited inspirational courage, despite huge personal ­challenges.”

Heathcote-Marks lost her mother in primary school and was then raised by her father. Due to strained family relationships, in Grade 9 she moved out of home and into rented accommodation with another family.

“This must have had an immense effect on her emotionally. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, which one could well have understood given her circumstances, she supported herself by working two jobs. She continued being involved in the life of the school, using her immense talent as an opera singer to great effect,” said Schafer.

“Her peers say that despite her hardships and challenges, she is kind, caring, humble and full of life. She was acknowledged by her school at the end of last year when she won the principal award for fortitude, and passed her matric with six distinctions and an average of 83.3% at one of the top academic schools in the province. This recipient is truly an example of how one can, with hard work and the right attitude, succeed despite ­hardships.”

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