Against the odds, two Soweto schools attended by pupils from poor backgrounds, child-headed households and single-parent homes, achieved matric pass rates of 97 and 96 per cent.Both schools rely on feeding scheme programmes and food parcels.But the pupils' challenges didn't deter them.They worked hard throughout the year, attending school early and leaving late. Pupils didn't spend holidays at home and chose to attend school instead to prepare for their final exams.DistinctionsAnd it looks like their hard work paid off.Two pupils at Forte High School bagged seven distinctions each and one at George Khoza Secondary netted five distinctions. The mood at both schools was jovial on Wednesday as pupils hugged and praised each other.READ | Curro pupil at centre of 'satanic art' debacle aces his matricThe principals of both schools acknowledged their teams for ensuring that pupils delivered good results.George Khoza Secondary School acting principal, Musawenkosi Nzuza, said they owed their success to the extra efforts and hard work of matriculants and teachers towards the end of 2019.The school obtained 97.4% - a significant improvement from the 90% they received in 2018.Fifty pupils received bachelor's passes, 40 diploma passes and 12 higher certificate passes.He said he was proud the Class of 2019 raised the bar.GK, as the school is famously known in Dobsonville and neighbouring townships, achieved a 100% pass rate in English, Accounting, isiZulu, Setswana, isiXhosa, Tourism, History and Life Orientation.READ | 81.3% of pupils pass 2019 NSC exams, Free State tops provincesThe school also obtained 96% in Physical Sciences and Geography, 92% in Life Sciences and Economics, 90% in Maths Literacy and 44.4% in Mathematics.Nzuza said the 2019 results would encourage the Class of 2020 to raise the bar even higher.He appealed to funders, donors and their partners to continue assisting the school and pupils.PartnershipForte High School principal Mukosi Mudavhi praised the government, teachers, pupils and their parents for helping the school to get 96%."Everybody who was involved played an important role. They knew what to do and encouraged our learners to work harder and indeed they gave us best results" Mudavhi said.ALSO READ | Extra-curricular activities and YouTube no hindrance for St Andrew's pupil who netted 9 distinctionsHe said his school received 149 bachelor's passes, 78 diploma passes and 14 higher certificate passes."We had 282 learners who sat down for examinations and they all did well and made us proud as their teachers. This year we have enrolled 340 learners whom we believe will outperform the Class of 2019."Our [goal] here is to ensure that all our learners pass with beautiful results regardless of their background. We understand where they come from and we push them to work harder," Mudavhi said.