A total of 200 of the Western Cape’s top-achieving Grade 12 learners participated in the annual development camp by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) in partnership with the provincial education department. The learners knuckled down ahead of this year’s prelims to receive additional academic support in mathematics and accounting, as well as career guidance and life skills training at this year’s development camp.Bernadino Heights Secondary School’s Dylan Saville was top of the class after he scored 100% on the test that was set for the learners.Getting to the camp, Saville said that he felt intimidated by the number of learners that also attended.“There were so many learners from different schools, I felt intimidated. (But) when we got there, the camp leaders made everyone feel at ease and we got more comfortable,” he said.He described the camp as life-changing for him and he felt motivated by the other people’s stories.“The lessons we got from people that were there, people that told their stories of how they grew up from nothing to being charted accountants who excel in their careers, were very inspiring.”He said the camp helped him to fully prepare for the upcoming final examinations.Saville plans to study towards a bachelors degree in accounting which would ultimately lead to him being the best accountant he dreams of becoming.La’eeqa Samsodien from Strandfontein said winning second prize for accounting was overwhelming for her. “It was a very good feeling and coming second out of all the learners just showed me the potential that I have.” Samsodien said the competition was a great experience for her and although it was a bit difficult, practice makes perfect. She said her parents are really happy and proud of her achievements. Samsodien said she hopes to study BCom accounting at Stellenbosch University (US) next year but for now, she is preparing for her upcoming exams. Amanda Sasha from Sophumelela High School, in Weltevreden Valley, obtained first prize in the mathematics category. Sasha said she was ecstatic about the result because there were about 200 matrics from different schools who participated. “I was really happy about the result because it is generally a challenging subject.” Sasha, who is also preparing for the final matric exams, said she hopes to study BCom Accounting at the University of Cape Town (UCT) next year. Mzimasi Hoho, school principal said this is a great achievement. He described Sasha as a hardworking learner who excels in both mathematics and science. “The school is very excited and the learners are currently preparing for their final exams,” said Hoho. Two Grade 12 learners, Khanya Ntamzeli and Busiswa Tasana from Isilimela Comprehensive School in Langa won second and third prizes during the camp. Ntamzeli came second while Tasana came third in the mathematics category.Ntamzeli form Langa, who wants to study electrical engineering, said he has always loved maths and he was able to learn a lot from the camp.Despite coming second, he said the competition was not that tough. “I made a mistake which cost me otherwise I did not see the competition as being tough,” he said.Tasana from Khayelitsha said she chose the school because of its good pass rate and it shows by having two learners from the school making it in the top three.She said the camp was fun and she learned a lot of things from the other learners. Tasana said you must always commit yourself and strive for competition if you want to succeed. “We tend to complicate maths which is why most learners say it is difficult but for me it is easy,” she said.Robert Zwane, Saica’s senior executive for transformation and growth said Saica hosts provincial development camps every year to further learners’ social and career development and harness their potential to produce quality matric passes. He said the benefits of the camps extend well beyond the immediate goal of improving academic performance. Betty Abrahams, Saica’s project manager for the Western Cape camp said Saica is proud of those who attended the camp and is thrilled to see how their learners’ marks have improved over the week-long session. “We look forward to seeing how what they have learned at the camp has improved their grades,” said Abrahams.