The hard work of the Lotus High School matric class of 2016 earned them an award for the most improved public school from the Western Cape Education Department.
The school’s matric pass rate has climbed steadily in the past three years, with 46 percent in 2014, 63 percent in 2015 and a whopping 75 percent in 2016.
The top pupil Zahier Noordien, who passed with a B aggregate, and principal Benjamin Pietersen spoke to Southern Mail about their good tidings.
The Ottery resident joked that his secret to achieving his Bachelor’s pass was always trying to “beat” his classmates, without the use of any weapons.
The passive young man didn’t bat an eyelid when he spoke about his school’s heavy workload because, he said, he lives a well-balanced life. “I make time to play my X-box or occasionally cricket, but without moving much, because I don’t like running,” he smiled.
He said you have to take your mind off work so that you can start fresh.
Zahier, who is an only child, said his parents played a huge role in his success. “However, my dad Ghaleed motivated me through teasing me. He would say ‘you better pass matric so you can be the first one in the family to do so’.”
He said his mother Feroza always showed interest in his work.
He acknowledged his teachers for also motivating him to improve his marks. “I thrive on competition and I love to get good marks,” said Zahier.
He was invited to give a motivational speech to the new Grade 12s at Lotus High’s first day of school last week.
“I can’t believe that I advised them to beat my marks,” he joked.
Zahier’s method of studying is with music.
“I can’t concentrate on my school work if I don’t have music in my ears. I block the music out to focus on my work, but I still need to have the music in the background.”
Although Zahier is more of a techno fundi, he is willing to try hobbies other than fiddling with computers. “I am a member of the eco club at our school, I play table tennis, I’ve tried surfing and sailing as well.”
Zahier said he would offer the new Grade 12s his old school books and papers and even help them where he can. “I would appreciate it if someone passed on their knowledge to me,” he explained.
Asked what he regrets not doing while he was in matric, he said: “I wish I could have read more books. I did, however, watch a lot of subtitled animated movies, which forced me to read.”
Zahier will be studying Information Technology (Systems Development), through a scholarship at Damelin. “After I complete the course, Damelin will set me up with an internship at a company where there may be a possibility of getting a permanent job.”
Mr Pietersen commended Zahier for his good attitude since he met him in Grade 8. “I have never seen Zahier get angry,” said Mr Pietersen.
He also commended the hard work of the teachers and staff who helped in achieving good marks.
He said the school’s results are thanks to many role-players. “We partnered with many people and we thank Metro South Education District (MSED) and our team at school who supported the children with extra classes and regular testing. We are planning to use the same system next year.”
Mr Pietersen said the school had a few motivational speakers to get the pupils to set targets. “There were a few challenges and one of them was that a girl who was supposed to write her first test paper in the exams, did not come to school. I had to go and fetch her at home, to convince her to write. She eventually came and she passed.”
He said this kind of intervention was needed and he said he calls his staff the “star polishers” as he had dedicated a poem, called the Star Polisher, by Leah Becks, to the teachers, and read it out at one of their meetings.
However, although he has “a great team” who works hard at making the pupils’ school career a success, he said their school needs more pupils.
“We need at least another 100 pupils to fill up the school.”
He said despite the low numbers, they are on a “trajectory” and the school aims to get an over 80 percent pass rate for 2017.