“Maintaining it” is key for top achiever
12 March 2021
Thandolewethu Klaas of Weston High School in Vredenburg had to overcome educational challenges since his first day at school.
He had to complete his schooling in Afrikaans while his mother-tongue was Xhosa because the only other school in the area was full.
Thandolewethu initially struggled with the language barrier and had to repeat Grade 1. Once his Afrikaans improved, he noticed that his results reflected the effort he put in his schoolwork.
This motivated him to work even harder to make his parents proud.
His hard work was rewarded with a Ministerial Award at the Western Cape Education Department’s 2020 National Senior Certificate (NSC) Awards on 9 March 2021 at Leeuwenhof.
While he said most of his teachers helped him to succeed, three teachers stood out. Mrs Vraagom in Primary School, his Maths teacher, Mr Nel, who was there for him from Grade 9, and his Physics teacher, Mr Philander, who was simply amazing and motivated him to work hard.
When he was in Grade 10, Thandolewethu’s mother became very ill. He had to divide his time between his studies and caring for his siblings who are five and eight years younger than him because his father worked long hours to support the family.
His mother’s health improved and he set himself a goal of being first in Grade 10 to show her how grateful he was that she recovered.
To maintain his academic performance, he followed an intensive study programme in Grade 11 and focused on his schoolwork during the December school holidays.
After his mother’s health scare, he said he realised that there was always light at the end of the tunnel and that you must work smarter. He employed this attitude during the lockdown and the disruption to his matric year.
“I had to come up with a strategy to be able to concentrate on my studies with everyone at home. I decided to study from 10pm to 5am every day of the week, including weekends.
He made good use of the revision materials from the Western Cape Education Department in his matric year and attended revision classes even though it was not compulsory.
His hard work paid off – he achieved an A aggregate and passed all his subjects with distinctions. And he does not intend to stop there, because in his own words: “It is not about making it, it is about maintaining it”.
We wish him well in his Civil Engineering studies at Stellenbosch University.