Nine Helpies boast 9 A’s


“One’s real worth and ability cannot be measured in symbols or judged on paper. Once you realize this, worry gives way to a calm heart, optimistic outlook and renewed confidence.”

Talk like that Zack Smith, former student of Helpmekaar College in Johannesburg. Smit is one of nine matriculants from Helpmekaar who achieved nine distinctions in the Independent Examination Board’s (IEB) final examination. Smit boasts distinctions in Afrikaans, English Home Language, mathematics, information technology, engineering graphics and design, physical sciences, life orientation, further studies in mathematics (“standard”) and further studies in mathematics (“elective”), as well as a B symbol in further studies in physical sciences.

Time for scope survey

Smit, who plans to study mechatronic engineering at Stellenbosch University (SU), believes matric is a watershed year in terms of prioritization. “Although this is a very important year, it is dangerous to view it as ‘make or break’.

“What I especially learned this year is to prioritize what is really important. It is the ideal opportunity for inner restructuring, the evaluation of one’s psychic and spiritual well-being, and an appreciation of a solid and genuine support network. I believe this survey has eternal value.”

“Pressure is the privilege of champions”, is one quote that Smit stuck to throughout the year. “Our young people are an exciting generation that on the one hand questions things and on the other can bring about great change. I am grateful that Helpmekaar taught me to question issues, because I believe education is the best weapon against injustice and unfairness.

“Young people see the mistakes of previous generations, build on the good and have the privilege and responsibility to find solutions to contemporary problems. It gives me so much hope for the future.”

Work for your future self

Also Marco Prinsloo is going to study mechatronic engineering at SU and has distinctions in Afrikaans, English First Additional Language (EAT), mathematics, life orientation, physical sciences, accounting, information technology, further studies in mathematics (“standard”) and further studies in mathematics (“elective” ) achieved.

For this first-team hockey and cricket player, golf, hunting and fishing were just the right medicine to swallow matric. Although it sometimes feels like a dirt road, Prinsloo believes matrics should buy the time and make time to enjoy this special year. “It’s really over in the blink of an eye.

“You will be grateful for the rest of your life if you have already established the discipline of balance and hard work. Don’t work hard for your present self, work hard for your future self.”

The huge advances in technology make him excited for young people’s future. But, Prinsloo adds in the same breath, if he could wave a magic wand, he would surely want to stamp out fake news.

Priorities snowball

Michael Neuper agree with Smit that prioritization is one of the most important lessons for any matriculant. “My father (Tommy, an entrepreneur) taught me to differentiate between important and urgent; not important and urgent; important, but not urgent; and not important and not urgent. This simple list prevents work, like the many practical assessment tasks (PATs) in your matric year, from unmanageably snowballing.”

Michael boasts distinctions in Afrikaans, English EAT, mathematics, information technology, economics, life orientation, physical sciences, further studies in mathematics (“standard”) and further studies in mathematics (“elective”), as well as a B symbol in further studies in physical sciences.

This smart head plans to study BSc Computer Science at SU and dreams of one day specializing in cyber security. “Not only is it an increasing focus worldwide, but I find coding, systems analysis and problem solving immensely stimulating.

“What will stay with me from Helpmekaar is the work ethic and workload, which I believe is excellent preparation for my further studies.” Also the close friends he made here, or the Helpie chain as the learners call it, will stay with him forever.

Success cannot be counted, weighed

Divan of Grain is another Helpie who joins Stellies this year and plans to study actuarial science. Van Graan believes that educators who constantly challenge and stimulate learners, and are truly passionate about their subject area, make Helpmekaar special and have played a major role in its success. “It’s never easy to steer a boat when you’re alone, but by surrounding yourself with the right people, the rowing load is considerably lighter.”

Van Graan, who is currently attending Spanish language classes in Barcelona for two weeks, boasts distinctions in Afrikaans, English Home Language, mathematics, Spanish, physical sciences, life orientation, information technology, further studies in mathematics (“standard”) and further studies in mathematics (” elective”).

“The world is a big place and one needs to experience cultures and perspectives outside of one’s own small circle. For example, my perception of success has changed a lot. For me, success involves much more than something that can be weighed or counted. To be happy with what you have, where you are – inner contentment – this is true success.

“For many learners, matric feels like an unclimbable mountain. However, nothing is impossible. In fact, it is a terribly exciting time in a young person’s life. You may make mistakes, but you also have to learn from them. As the saying goes: You can’t solve a problem with the same mindset that created it.”

Make quiet time a habit

Michelle le Roux says her grandfather Dirk Greeff’s glass-always-half-full attitude is a great inspiration. “He is always open to trying new things and broadening his horizons. He is constantly working out, getting involved in the community and taking on projects in his area.”

That’s why Le Roux dreams of one day making a difference as a medical doctor. “It is estimated that by 2050, multidrug-resistant bacteria will be the leading cause of death worldwide. I would like to help more people worldwide have access to excellent medical care.”

Le Roux, who obtained Trinity College’s grade 7 qualification in singing and grade 6 in music theory and will study medicine at Wits, boasts distinctions in Afrikaans, English EAT, French, mathematics, life orientation, life sciences, physical sciences, further studies in mathematics (“standard”) and further studies in mathematics (“elective”).

Le Roux emphasizes the importance of quiet time. “By spending time with the Lord, even if it’s while exercising, listening to music or drinking coffee, one is anchored in tough times. One is never alone. As Psalm 23:6 promises, His goodness and favor will follow you, because He always has our best interests at heart.”

Rest is not a sign of laziness

Mieke Burger and Van Graan will be classmates in actuarial science at SU this year and Burger is a young woman who is certainly not afraid of a lot of hay on her fork. In addition to her dream of becoming an actuary, she plans to further improve her French language knowledge and finally be able to speak this language fluently.

Burger achieved distinctions in Afrikaans, English EAT, French, mathematics, accounting, business studies, life orientation, physical sciences and further studies in mathematics (“standard”). She also obtained B symbols in computer application technology, information technology and further studies in mathematics (“elective”).

Like Le Roux, Burger loves music and passed grade 7 with honors in violin and piano. She also took the DELF B2 French language exam in her matric year (Helpmekaar is an accredited exam center for this and the German language exam) and finished in the top 1% in the SATs (Standard Aptitude Test). A qualification at Harvard and a famous composition are also on her dream list.

“Just like focus and hard work, rest is a very important part of your matric year. I initially thought that one should burn the midnight candle, but this is not sustainable. I learned to be strict with myself about rest time and soon realized it was much needed and not a sign of laziness. I believe happiness breeds passion, and passion breeds success.”

Remind each other of hope

Jos Kotzé, Helpmekaar’s Duxleerling from 2023, is a man with a head for numbers. He not only achieved 100% in mathematics, but also boasts A’s in Afrikaans, English EAT, life orientation, information technology, accounting, physical sciences, further studies in mathematics (“standard”) and further studies in mathematics (“elective”). on his report.

Kotzé intends to follow in the footsteps of his greatest inspiration, Father Michal, as a chartered accountant and is going to study actuarial science at Tukkies. “I aspire to, like my father, be able to make a difference one day and tackle everything with enthusiasm. Finding happiness where I am planted.

“I taught myself to play the guitar during Covid and started lessons after the lockdown. That and time on the golf course or in nature were wonderful outlets away from the books. I also played rugby for the third team. It was really fun, without any performance pressure, and gave me the opportunity to just enjoy the sport.”

Kotzé hopes that people will remember the lessons about adaptability and tenacity learned during Covid. “We easily forget how difficult this time was, how much we needed each other. We need to keep reminding each other that there is always hope, no matter how dark things seem. We must keep working and building towards a better future.”

Reconciliation possible if we celebrate differences

Ann Jacobs in turn boasts distinctions in Afrikaans, English Home Language, mathematics, life orientation, French, physical sciences, life sciences, further studies in mathematics (“standard”) and further studies in mathematics (“elective”), and intends to study electronic engineering at the US to go swot.

“I am a little unconventional in my way of working and worked much harder in the years before matric so that I could take my foot off the pressure pedal a little last year. I love researching political and conflict situations and how identity is shaped by circumstances.

“Helpmekaar has incredible teachers who have enriched my life. I am definitely a better person today thanks to them. I’m terribly curious and sometimes it’s bad that you only have to choose one career. I wish I could learn more about medicine and genetics, fields for which I was also selected. If I could, I would simply want to learn everything.”

According to Jacobs, her greatest wish is that people will become more receptive to others’ perspectives. “Sometimes it feels like everyone thinks they are right and brings you to a point where differences feel irreconcilable. We must open ourselves to other opinions. Just think how much we can achieve as a country and humanity if we celebrate differences!”

Eat matric like an elephant

Anke Kelbrick planned to study BRek at SU and achieved distinctions in Afrikaans, English EAT, mathematics, life orientation, tourism, computer application technology, accounting, further studies in mathematics (“standard”) and further studies in mathematics (“elective”).

For Kelbrick, matric was like eating an elephant – small bits over a long period of time. “Because the workload is fierce, proper time management is critical. By getting things done right away, one can take breaks with peace of mind. I love to bake and cook, and like to sew as my grandmother Martso van der Westhuizen taught me. Making something out of nothing is incredibly satisfying.”

Ma Mardelle, head of tax at Standard Bank, is Kelbrick’s biggest inspiration. “She tackles everything head on, regardless of the obstacles. She taught me that if you want to achieve something, you have to work for it yourself. I believe in being unconditionally myself; the rest I leave 100% in the Lord’s hands.”

Kelbrick’s dream is that people will look at each other with more love, empathy and mercy. “Francine Rivers’ book Redeeming Love just opened my eyes more to God’s love. How He (will) save us from every difficult situation.”