Matibidi - Hard work and dedication has paid off for Thalentha Ngoveni, who was gifted with a red Toyota Yaris as a reward for earning seven distinctions in his matric examination. Ngoveni who is from Acorn Oaks High School in Acornhoek outside Bushbuckridge expected to score only four distinctions.He said: "I am very happy today and I never expected to be a top learner. I would like to thank the department of education for their passion for education and at the same time covering people like me who come from poor backgrounds with an opportunity to better their future no matter their situation," said Ngoveni.He said that he would like to study Actuarial Science at the University of Cape Town.The teen also thanked Bushbuckridge’s Math Guru, Jerry Mbowane for helping him to improve his math and science marks. "Mr Mbowane took me in when I needed a mentor and I am glad that my hard work and his wisdom paid off," he said.Mbowane said: "Thalentha is a star and he showed it during our afternoon classes and I am happy for his exciting future."MEC of Mpumalanga Department of Education, Reginah Mahaule said:"We make sure that all the learners our system obtain great results and Talentha is one of the excelling learners that exemplify our good intentions with the education system of our province.Mahaule also consoled those children who had failed."Parents should not be so hard on the children who did not pass, instead they should be emotionally supported and guided kindly on how to do better next year," she said.