THE iLembe class of 2018 have continued where their predecessors left off by coming to the rescue of the district Department of Education and improving the pass percentage after the matric results came out on January 4.The iLembe District achieved a 71,14% pass rate which is a 6,23% improvement from 2017. However, iLembe remains in 12th position among the 12 districts in KwaZulu-Natal. KwaDukuza schools also performed exceptionally well, with three pupils among the top five in the district while the other two top performers came from Ndwedwe and Maphumulo.KwaDukuza also managed to achieve the accolade of having a pupil in the top 10 in KZN.Three schools in the district: Inhlokozi High and Ndukende Secondary in rural Maphumulo and Mbuyiselo High in rural Mandeni, boasted a 100% pass rate.Among the best performing schools in KwaDukuza were Zakariyya Muslim School with 96,9%, Stanger South Secondary with 93,9%, Groutville High School with 91,6%, Nonhlevu Secondary with 91,5% Stanger High School with 88,6% and Stanger Manor Secondary with 88,1%.The top 10 achieving pupils in the iLembe District were: Evashen Morgan Pillay (Stanger Manor), Mcebisi Guntha Ntenga (Lihlithemba Sec), Ruwal Lutchman (Stanger Manor), Sibusiso Nxumalo (Tshutshutshu Sec), Saadia Bibi Sheik-Ebrahim (Stanger Manor), Akeera Deodhari (Glenhills Sec), Nombuso Happinness Myeza (Mangcengeza JS), Simlindile Samukelisiwe Myeza (Vukile High), Shazia Vally (Zakariyya Muslim) and Kelina Konan (Stanger Manor).One of the most improved schools in KwaDukuza was ML Sultan Secondary, with a 73,5% pass rate, a huge achievement from 60% the previous year. Deputy principal N. Chiranjan said they are happy to finally break past the 70% mark and all has been achieved through hard work.“We are very pleased to finally reach above 60% and it is all thanks to the pupils and the teaching staff who went the extra mile,” she said.Producing three achievers in the top five was Stanger Manor Secondary School, and the school also bolstered its pass rate by 10,17%.Evashen Morgan Pillay was placed first in the district and eighth in KZN with seven distinction, and was awarded a special award for physical science having achieved 99%.Pillay, who aspires to become a doctor and will study medicine at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine, attributes his success to consistency and balance.He said he did not burn the midnight oil because he started his studies early and had sufficient time.He also said it is important to use the study guidelines from the department and not just the textbooks.Ruwal Lutchman was placed third in the district also with seven As, and received a special award for mathematics having achieved 94%.He will be studying actuarial science at Stellenbosch University as he has a passion for numbers.In district fifth place from Stanger Manor was Saadia Bibi Sheik-Ebrahim, also with seven distinctions.She is deciding between the fields of medicine or chemical engineering, and attributes her success in matric to consistently studying, making time for every subject every day, learning and then reinforcing what she learnt with past year papers.Principal Mervin Gounden said once again, Stanger Manor Secondary has maintained its proud history of academic excellence. “We will continue to strive to provide quality education to our pupils in preparation for their entry into higher education and to take their place as responsible citizens of our country. Now it is time for these remarkable young men and women to go out and enrich our society.“Such great achievement can only come about as a result of the combined efforts of the hard work and dedication of our teachers, pupils, parents, school governing body and the school’s management.“We wish to extend our sincere thanks to all these stakeholders and we look forward to a successful 2019.”Stanger High School principal, Mr Dugmore, said the school achieved an 86,6% pass rate, five percent up from 2017.He said while he was pleased with the increase, the school will strive to do much better in 2019.Glenhills Secondary School achieved a 74% pass rate, 0,6% down from 2017.However, the school still managed to produce a pupil in the top 10.Principal M. Budhram said they hoped for better, however, considering the community the school is situated in, pupils face innumerable challenges socioeconomically and are exposed to social ills on a daily basis. “Despite this, our staff worked tirelessly to help the pupils and the pupils did put in the work as well. We will strive to do better in this year.”KwaDukuza Mayor Ricardo Mthembu congratulated the matric class of 2018 for their sterling work during the academic year and exam period.“We congratulate the class of 2018 for their outstanding achievement, given the challengers and limitations some pupils and teachers were faced with, and in the same breath we sympathise with those who did not make it. We appeal to them not to make irrational decisions going forward as there is still a second chance,” said Mthembu.