It wasn't only the efforts of pupils that raised the matric pass rate at Moqhaka High School by 40%, but also the extra efforts of their parents.Emily Khumalo, the proud principal of the school in Sebokeng in the Vaal, told News24 in an exclusive interview that parents were the ones who were behind the 94.3% pass mark the school obtained in 2018.The school made an improvement of 40 percentage points, from 54% in 2017.By 07:00 on Wednesday, a group of matriculants was already in class studying on their own before heading to the assembly to be addressed by Khumalo and other teachers.The assembly began with a short prayer sermon, before the principal could address the pupils.An emotional Khumalo told them that without hard work and dedication, the class of 2018 would not have made the school the third most-improved school in the province.Handling a trophy and a certificate from the province, Khumalo welcomed new pupils into the school and encouraged the class of 2019 to achieve a 100% pass rate.'God answered our prayers'"Today I am proud to say God has answered our prayers. Unlike last year this time, today I am a happy person. If it was not because of your efforts and hard work you have shown from Grade 8, we would not be celebrating today."This victory is not for the school only, but for the township, district and province. I am proud of the class of 2018. They raised the flag high and it is up to you to obtain 100%, which we all agreed on. We want to be number one in Gauteng," she said to loud applause.Preparations by the class of 2018 began on January 2, 2018. Pupils were taught from 07:00 to 16:00 daily, including weekends. They were also taught during holidays."We had a study camp where learners were sleeping in the school, studying and being taught. I want to thank parents who contributed a lot by sleeping in the school when my learners were studying at night."This school does not have security guards. But parents and SGB (school governing body) members have volunteered to look after the school 24 hours. As a mother, I am faced with many challenges because some of my learners are from poor backgrounds and others from child-headed families," she said.READ: Gauteng celebrates: Only 3 schools didn't reach a 70% matric pass rateThe school has partnered with NGOs to assist those who come from poor backgrounds and child-headed families with social welfare.This year, learning started on Monday and Khumalo said they were going to intensify their programme to ensure progress by the middle of the year."This school was once regarded as the worst one in the Vaal before I arrived in 2010. I found it in disarray and managed to change it. Many thought that as a woman, I was going to fail. But with the support of my teachers, district and parents, we are now turning it into a school where every parent wants to take their children to," she said.'We are flowers of the school'Grade 12 pupil, Tebogo Mafisa promised that a 100% pass rate was a mountain to climb but with dedication, hard work, listening to teachers and doing schoolwork, it was achievable."We are the flowers of this school. We are different from other learners in lower grades. Everyone is expecting us to shine more than our predecessors and we are promising to achieve that. We now walk and wear our uniforms with pride after what the class of 2018 achieved."They have raised the bar and it is up us to raise it further. We know that we need only 6% to obtain 100%. The number might look small, but it needs extra efforts to achieve it. On Monday, we were given homework to do. Matric is not a joke and we promised our principal that we are going to make her proud," he said.