MARITZBURG Muslim School for Girls yielded three top pupils in the city, who each earned seven distinctions. Azraa Akoonjee, Nirthana Kurukkal and Raadiyah Patel expressed joy and relief with their results, and extended their gratitude to their teachers and parents for their unwavering support during their matric year.
All three were delighted that their nervousness could be put to rest, even though they were expecting good results all along.
“It’s a good feeling knowing that I’m one of the top achievers in Pietermaritzburg,” said Kurukkal, who wept with joy when she found she is one of the top achievers.
“There were sleepless nights and days without watching TV, but I enjoy studying and always had this approach, so it was like another normal year of school for me,” said Nirthana who, of her nine subjects, achieved distinctions for Afrikaans, Tamil, mathematics, life orientation, accounting, information technology and physical science.
The only pupil in Pietermaritzburg, to her knowledge, to have taken Tamil as an additional language, Nirthana said that it was easy to study the language as her parents are from Sri Lanka and speak the language at home.
“IT [information technology] was the challenge because it is an application subject and I had to divide my time carefully and put a lot of effort into it,” said Nirthana.
Owing her success to her parents, she said: “My parents woke me up early to study, took me for extra lessons and helped me out a lot with whatever I needed.
“Throughout my studying, my parents were my support structure.”
A budding maxilo-facial surgeon, Nirthana said pupils need to remember that Grade 11 is an extremely important year and they need to work hard from the start. Azraa, who applied to study dentistry at Wits University this year, said: “It’s extremely rewarding knowing that hard work has paid off - not only my hard work, but also my teachers’ and parents’ hard work.”
She added their teachers, who have become more like family, played a big role in their achievements. She also thanked her friends and study group for the ongoing assistance.
Her advice to matrics is to always study in advance, be calm, never lose hope and give it their all. “Also, be happy with your potential,” Azraa said.
An excited Raadiyah, who aims to pursue a medical degree this year, said the key to her distinctions was working hard till late, practising with past papers from various schools across the country, and the consistent motivation from her parents.
The holder of seven distinctions, one of the challenges she faced was taking on business studies as an additional subject.
“Business studies clashed with physical science at school. It was taxing as I missed the lessons and had to put in a lot of hard work and extra time into the subject after school.”
Her advice to the class of 2016 is to “study like it’s your final exam from the very start, practise with past papers, keep your cool, don’t be intimidated and remember there’s a higher power guiding you”.
“I thank every single teacher at school — they’ve all played a role and put in extra time and work to make sure we were well-prepared,” said Raadiyah, who also thanked her grandmother, Serah Kharwa, who kept her calm and motivated.