Scottsdene Secondary School is in one of the city’s toughest neighbourhoods, but that didn’t stop it shining in the matric exams, and last week some bigwigs visited to pay it homage.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane and Education MEC Debbie Schäfer heaped praise on the Kraaifontein school as it reopened for the new academic year last Wednesday.
The school scored an 83.5% pass for 2017, despite the fact that it is not unusual for pupils to have to dodge bullets on their way to class in the gang-plagued neighbourhood.
Pupils and teachers in the packed hall clapped loudly as Mr Maimane and Ms Schäfer appeared on the stage.
Ms Schäfer praised the school for its 2017 pass rate, and she mentioned Benedict Khobotle, who received a Special Ministerial Award for his 72% pass under difficult circumstances, (“Pupil beats the odds,” Northern News, January 17).
Benedict lives in Wallacedene next to a shebeen. Often he could only start studying at midnight or later once the noise had stopped.
Some of the pupils chuckled as Mr Maimane greeted them in Afrikaans. He said he was inspired to come to the school after hearing of its achievements.
It made him proud, he said, to see the pupils dressed so neatly in their green and yellow uniforms, seemingly undaunted by the strife in their community.
He told them that society “needs more leaders” and he handed out boxes of exercise books and pens.
Principal Karel Cupido said his pupils had done well in the face of great adversity.
“Our school has faced many challenges, and what makes us unique is those learners have pulled through to Grade 12.
“We have a gang problem right outside our gates, and these kids are being used as shields. I remember when the matrics were writing their finals there were many distractions, shots were being fired and they would sit up straight wondering what is going on outside,” he said.
Grade 12 pupil Bethaney Samuels said she had seen an improvement in her results after starting at the school in Grade 10.
Last year she was one of the top three pupils in Grade 11. She said her experience at the school had brought her out of her shell.