Star College Cape Town has been named the top school in the Western Cape with a matric enrolment of less than 30 candidates for the second year in a row at the provincial 2019 National Senior Certificate Examinations awards held on Thursday 16 January.Of the 25 learners who wrote and passed the 2019 exams at the high school for girls, 24 did so with a bachelor’s pass. The learners shared a total of 77 distinctions between them.Ahmet Kayya, the principal at the school, says the matric class of 2019 raised the bar, especially in terms of distinctions earned. “The learners were actively involved in all of the school activities; so they have proven that academic success comes down to teamwork and that good communication between learners and teachers result in better motivation. I have trust in our matric class of 2020 that they will maintain this success in all aspects,” Kayya says. The girls’ high school forms part of the Horizon Educational Trust’s (HET) schools in South Africa.Horizon Educational Trust was established in South Africa in 1998 by South African Turkish philanthropists inspired by the educational and social philosophy of Fethullah Gülen.In 1999, HET opened its first school, named Star International High School, with only 16 Grade 8 boys, in Athlone. A year later, it opened the Star International Primary School. By 2013, HET took the decision to have all its schools in South Africa operate under the same brand: Star Colleges.At present, Star College Cape Town has two campuses – Star College Sybrand Park (co-ed pre-primary school, a primary school and a girls’ high school) and Star College Bridgetown (co-ed primary school and a boys’ high school).The girls’ high school was started at the Sybrand Park Campus in 2014 with Grade 8 learners only. They would go on to win the girls’ school’s first top achiever award in 2018.Kayya says the school is proud to be the top school for two consecutive years.He explains that learners at Star College are encouraged to achieve in the classroom and to combine this success with involvement in sporting and cultural activities. “This balance enables them to be challenged, extended and motivated in many facets of real life, preparing them for their pathway beyond Star College,” Kayya says.And the brand’s success for 2019 did not stop there. The boys’ high school, Star College Bridgetown in Athlone, came in third on the list of top 20 schools in the province with an NSC enrolment of 30 or more candidates. Ugur Hulusi Patli, the principal of Star College Bridgetown, says as a very close-knit school community, this achievement means the world to them.“We are grateful for the support of our parents, the dedication of the teachers and the hard work and effort put in by our extremely talented students,” Patli says. Asked to expand on HET’s ethos, Patli says it aims to eradicate three main problems in society through education: ignorance, poverty, and conflict/disunity. “We are strictly apolitical, non-profit and non-governmental. We don’t want to engage with Turkish or any other politics at all. We focus strictly on educational and social activities,” he says. In addition to offering extra tutoring after school and on weekends, Star College schools also hold holiday camps and provide training for national and international olympiads. Star College schools are self-sufficient, financially.“All extra resources are made available for scholarships to support disadvantaged communities,” Patli concludes.