An overwhelmed Ammaarah Creighton collected her matric results from Trafalgar High School in Cape Town on Wednesday.
She was awarded a pass after she and her family struggled through a difficult year of being homeless and financially unstable. She hopes to follow her dream of one day becoming a teacher.
"Despite all the difficulties and all the things we've been through, I can say that I passed and I did it and I'm so extremely happy for that right now," the delighted ex-pupil told News24.
Creighton's mother said that it was her determination and dedication to her prayers that led her to success.
"And then I told her, I said Ammaarah, you keep on doing this all your life and you'll see where your prayers will get you one day."
Matric head of department at Trafalgar High School Roegshana Hendricks said she was happy with the pupils' hard work but the maths results were disappointing.
"The learners are extremely disappointed in their maths results, but I think overall maths was a huge problem," she said.
However, for subjects like Physics, Accountancy, Life Orientation, Consumers and Tourism, it was a 100% pass rate.