Flying high! Joburg matriculant who is a private pilot scores 8 distinctions

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Benjamin Shmukler of King David High School Linksfield  has achieved 8 distinctions.
Benjamin Shmukler of King David High School Linksfield has achieved 8 distinctions.
  • Benjamin Shmukler achieved eight distinctions. 
  • He is taking a gap year to live in Israel. 
  • He has not yet decided what course to study in 2023. 

While most candidates who just passed matric are looking forward to going to university and studying new things, Benjamin Shmukler is excited to be going on a gap year.  

Shmukler achieved distinctions in English, Hebrew, isiZulu, Life Orientation, Maths, Music, Physical Science and Advanced Programme Maths. 

Despite his excellent marks, the King David High School Linksfield pupil said he was not ready to go to university just yet. Instead,  he is moving to Israel for a year. 

"I am not a 100% sure yet [of what I want to study]. I definitely will study some type of engineering."

READ | Umalusi gives 2021's matric results the all-clear

He hopes the gap year will help him decide what path to take.  

"I am hoping that the gap year will help me find what I want to do, and then I am an Israeli citizen and I wouldn't mind making aliyah to Israel. But I would have to do the compulsory army service, so I am hoping this year will show me what I want to do and help me figure out if I want to stay in South Africa or move to Israel."

Shmukler has a private pilot's licence, but has not decided whether flying is a field he wants to pursue.

Benjamin Shmukler (supplied)
Benjamin Shmukler (Supplied)

"I have always loved flying. My parents say they took me on a plane when I was six months old and I loved it. When I was 13,  my dad, through work, met an aerobatic champion, and he offered to take me up on his plane and I loved it."

Shmukler started his pilot training at 16. 


"At the end of Grade 11, I got my private pilot's licence. I don't know what I am going to do with it - if it's just going to be a passion or I'll go into flying for airlines."

He plans on getting his commercial flying licence soon.  

He says coping with the final year of school was easier than Grade 11.

READ | Find your Matric results on News24

"The matric year was much easier than Grade 11. The school was absolutely incredible to make sure we didn't miss a lot of days. We didn't have copious amounts of online school."

Shmukler said his secret for success was balancing his school work and other activities, like his love for music.  

"I love my music. I play the piano and the drums. Composing music is a hobby. I don't have a voice of an angel, but I can hold a tune," he quipped.   

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