Learners excel against the odds | Western Cape Education Department
Learners excel against the odds

Learners excel against the odds

21 Febraury 2023

Western Cape Education Minister, David Maynier, recognised two learners who exemplified exceptional courage and determination in achieving their success.

Luca Crouse of Parklands College and Shimé van den Bergh of Hoër Meisieskool Bloemhof passed the National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams with distinction.

Luca was diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech at the age of 5, a speech-sound disorder that prevents him from communicating verbally, and he requires a facilitator stabilising his hand to write.

Despite this, he has consistently flourished in a mainstream school, with high academic scores and a great talent for creative writing.

When it came to the matric exams, a facilitator stabilised his hand while he wrote in very large letters, sometimes only five to six words per page, which would then be transcribed to be ready for marking.

This resulted in him spending five to six hours in the exam venue at a time on some occasions. On days when he had an afternoon exam as well, he had no break between papers.

His courage and commitment paid off: he achieved an average of 82% with 4 distinctions.

His principal said that he was an example to us all.

Shimé had a very difficult matric year. Just after her June exams, severe pain in her leg resulted in an operation to remove a growth, and she had to wear a brace the full length of her leg.

Learners excel against the odds2

Unfortunately, the pain continued and worsened, and she underwent a second surgery to remove a growth. The operations involved transplanting the fibula in her calf into her thigh to replace the bone loss.

After a long hospital stay and recovery at home, and just three days before the start of the final exams, she received devastating news: she had bone cancer.
She was told that she would not be able to write her final exams, but she would not let that stop her. Not only did she write them, she scored an amazing 7 As and a 91.3% average – something that would be an incredible achievement even in the very best of circumstances!

Her grade head said that she serves as an inspiration and role model to all people who, despite their limiting circumstances, rise above them and excel.