Matriculant rises above poverty

2018-01-16 06:00
Matriculant Lauren Daniels obtained six distinctions in the 2017 Grade 12 exams.

Matriculant Lauren Daniels obtained six distinctions in the 2017 Grade 12 exams.

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Lauren Daniels is aiming for greater heights after she obtained six distinctions in her 2017 National Senior Certificate ­exams.

The 18-year-old learner from Christel House, which is a school for impoverished students in Ottery, obtained 97% in Economics, 93% in Afrikaans, 89% in History, 84% in English and Business Studies, and 80% in Life Orientation.

“I attribute my success to my own hard work, as well as the commitment and dedication of teachers at the school. Since our preliminary exams in September, I dedicated myself to studying for nine to 10 hours during the daytime and three hours at night, every day of the week.

“I admit, the preparation for exams was difficult because sometimes you don’t struggle academically, but the challenge is keeping your mind focused on the end goal,” says the Voorbrug resident.

Daniels, who attended Delft Primary School, says her journey with Christel House started when she was in Grade 8.

“When I was in Grade 7 [at Delft Primary], our school participated in a spelling bee competition. Our school came third and was awarded prizes from GrowSmart. I then sent the company a thank-you letter in which I also briefly outlined my living conditions to make them understand why I was so thankful.

“GrowSmart decided to make a video as an inspiration about my living conditions in Delft to continue the initiative and also for promotion purposes. They put it on their YouTube channel and that’s where Christel House saw it and approached me,” explains Daniels.

She says she went through the normal application process with Christel House, met the criteria and was accepted. The school has a transport service for learners, but as of Grade 12, Daniels stayed in the school’s residence together with 11 other learners.

Daniels admits she was given a very fortunate opportunity to improve her life and discover talents she never thought she had.

She stays with her parents, three brothers and uncle in a two-bedroom wendyhouse at the back of her grandmother’s house.

“I think that coming from a school like Delft Primary made me more independent and appreciative of what I had at Christel House. Children who live in difficult conditions must continue to push through and go for what they believe in.

“You don’t have to apologise for being poor, but you can do something about it. It starts with your education,” says Daniels.

Daniels is the second member of her family to finish high school. She will study for a Bachelor in Commerce Degree at the University of the Western Cape this year.

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